TABLE 3-1 Percentage of Adult Population Groups with Literacy Skills at NALS Levels 1, 2, or 3–4

 

Percent Respondents at Skill Level

Group

Level 1

Level 2

Levels 3–4

All NALS Respondents

22

28

50

Age

16–54 years

15

28

57

55–64 years

28

33

39

65 years and older

49

32

19

Highest Education Level Completed

0–8 years

77

19

4

9–12 years (no high school graduation)

44

37

19

High school diploma/GED (no college study)

18

37

45

Racial/Ethnic Group

White

15

26

59

American Indian/Alaska Native

26

38

36

Asian/Pacific Islander

35

25

40

Black

41

36

23

Hispanic (all groups)

52

26

22

Immigrants to US (various countries of origin)

0–8 years of education prior to arrival in US

60

31

9

9+ years of education prior to arrival in US

44

27

29

Disability

Any mental or emotional condition

48

26

27

Learning disability

59

22

19

Hearing difficulty

35

34

32

Speech disability

54

27

19

Visual difficulty

55

26

19

 

SOURCE: Unadjusted averages of prose and document literacy scores on the NALS as reported on Tables 1.1A, 1.1B, 1.2A, 1.2B, 1.8, and Figure 1.10 in Kirsch et al. (1993) and on Table B3.13 in the U.S. Department of Education’s report English Literacy and Language Minorities in the United States (2001).

those immigrants might have just begun to learn English. In addition, 91 percent of those who did not complete a high school education in their country of origin scored at the lowest levels of proficiency (see Table 3-1). A high proportion of people entering the United States from non-English-speaking nations come from non-industrialized areas of the world in which there are limited educational opportunities. For example, more than half of adults who emigrate to the United States from Spanish-speaking countries



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