OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Fact Sheet Series 2004 - Adult Basic and Literacy Education
Archived Information

The OVAE Fact Sheet Series highlights efforts currently underway at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) to support the principles of the President's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The principle(s) supported by this effort are:

  • Increase Accountability and Academic Achievement


The United States has conducted periodic assessments of the literacy skills of the nation's adults since 1985, including the Young Adult Literacy Survey (1985) and National Adult Literacy Survey (1992). In 1994, building on the success of those and similar studies conducted in Canada, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of the world's most industrialized countries, sponsored the first International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS).


Based on the IALS, the National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Vocational and Adult Education of the U.S. Department of Education are currently conducting three new surveys:

  • The Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL) will measure the literacy and numeracy skills of a representative sample of adults aged 16-65 in the United States and other countries.
  • The Adult Education and Literacy study (AEL) will use the ALL assessment instruments with a representative sample of adult education participants from programs funded under Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
  • The Level One Study is designed to examine the skills of lower literacy adults while also serving as a pilot for the AEL study.

Outcomes and Products

  • Comparison of the literacy of U.S. adult populations with those in similar countries
  • Data to monitor changes in adult skill levels since 1994
  • Comparison of the literacy skills of those enrolled in adult education programs and those in the general population
  • Data to describe the characteristics of a representative sample of adult education programs

FY 1998 to FY 2004



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Last Modified: 08/28/2007