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December 16, 2005

Decrease in Literacy for College Graduates

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, as reported by the New York Times, has declined significantly from 1992 to 2003.

In 1992, the percentage of college graduates scoring proficient in English was 40%; in 2003 the percentage had declined to 31%. Of those college graduates below proficient, 53% score intermediate, while 14% had only basic literacy. Astonishingly, 3% of college graduates had less than basic literacy in English.

Separating the data by ethnicity, Blacks increased statistically signficantly from 29% to 33%, Asian literacy increased significantly from 45% to 54%, but Hispanic literacy declined significantly from 33% to 27% in intermediate/proficient, while below basic literacy increased significantly from 35% to 44%.

The NAAL study includes sampling of 19,000 people above age 16.

Of course, non-English literacy is not the same as illiteracy, so the study should be interpreted with this distinction in mind.

Posted by Larry Winkler at December 16, 2005 9:08 AM
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