OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Current Section

National Assessment of Adult Literacy
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


While America has made great strides in tackling adult literacy in recent decades, the 1992 National Assessment of Adult Literacy indicates that as many as 21-23 percent - or some 40 to 44 million of the 191 million adults in this country - demonstrated skills in the lowest level of proficiency. The goal of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy is to establish a clear and present picture of this problem and measure the progress in addressing the challenge.


The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) provides continually updated reports on English literacy among American adults. NAAL describes the status of adult literacy in the United States, reports on national trends and identifies relationships between literacy and selected characteristics of adults. Data from NAAL 2002 will provide accurate estimates of where the nation's adult literacy needs are the greatest and will help policymakers target resources to address literacy-related issues. Moreover, by comparing the 2002 results to those from 1992, NAAL will provide the first indicators in a decade of the nation's progress toward achieving its goals of improving adult literacy.

NAAL is being conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Outcomes and Products

  • Clear understanding of the current state of adult literacy in the United States
  • Comprehensive report that contains national and state adult literacy comparisons, literacy rates by major population subgroups, and relationship between socioeconomic background and literacy proficiency
  • Evidence to determine how to target resources based on what adults with limited literacy skills can and cannot do

FY 2003 to FY 2005



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Last Modified: 09/06/2007