1st Edition

Tracking Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills Findings from Longitudinal Research

Edited By Stephen Reder, John Bynner Copyright 2009
    412 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    412 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Understanding the origins of poor literacy and numeracy skills in adulthood and how to improve them is of major importance when society places a high premium on proficiency in these basic skills. This edited collection brings together the results of recent longitudinal studies that greatly extend our knowledge of what works in raising skill levels, as well as the social and economic returns to improvement.

    Many fundamental research questions in adult education involve change over time: how adults learn, how program participation influences their acquisition of skills and knowledge, and how their educational development interacts with their social and economic performance. Although a growing number of longitudinal studies in adult basic education have recently been completed, this book is the first systematic compilation of findings and methods.

    Triangulating findings from different methodological perspectives and research designs, and across countries, this text produces convergence on key conclusions about the role of basic skills in the modern life course and the most effective ways of enhancing them.

    Introduction: The Need for Longitudinal Studies in Adult Literacy and Education

    S. Reder (Portland State University) & J. Bynner (Institute on Education)

    Basic Skills Development

    Section overview

    J. Bynner & S. Parsons (Institute on Education) Insights into basic skills from a UK longitudinal study

    S. Reder & C. Strawn (Portland State University) Literacy development across the lifespan: Some findings from the Longitudinal Study of Adult Learning

    S. Murray (UNESCO) Longitudinal research related to adult literacy and education

    Classroom & Teacher Studies

    Section overview

    J. Alamprese (Abt Associates) "What Works" for adult basic education students

    G. Brooks (University of Sheffield) Effective practice in the teaching of reading

    L.Condelli (American Institutes for Research) "What Works" for adult learners of English as a second language

    J. Comings et al (Harvard University) Adult student persistence

    Augustin de Coulon & J. Vorhaus (Institute on Education) Longitudinal study of the impact of the "Skills for Life" strategy on teachers and trainers

    Program Impact

    Section overview

    B. Butcher (Department for Education and Skills) The impact of Skills for Life on adult learners

    K. Evans (Institute on Education) Enhancing Skills for Life: Workplace learning and adult basic skills

    J. Hurry, L. Brazier & A. Wilson (Institute on Education) Improving the literacy and numeracy of young offenders and disaffected young people

    Social and Economic Outcomes

    Section overview

    B. MacDonald & P. Scollay (San Diego State University) Outcomes of literacy improvement: A longitudinal view

    S. Rose (MACRO International) Using state administrative records for analyzing student attendance, student achievement, and economic outcomes: A three state pilot


    Contextual Factors

    Section overview

    D. Barton (Lancaster University) A longitudinal view of adult learners’ lives

    B. Bingman (Univ.of Tennessee) & J. Merrifield (Learning from Experience Trust) Insights from longitudinal studies of adult literacy program participants

    L. Tett (University of Edinburgh) & K. Machlachlan (University of Glasgow) 'The more you learn the better you feel': Research into literacies, learning and identity in Scotland

    Conclusion: Basic skills in prospect

    J. Bynner & S. Reder



    Stephen Reder is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Applied Linguistics. He is author of "Literacy in America", co-editor of "Learning Disabilities, Literacy and Adult Education" and numerous articles and chapters. He serves on boards and advisory groups of numerous public agencies and organizations in the fields of adult literacy, second language acquisition and adult education.

    John Bynner is Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences in Education at the London Institute of Education. Until retirement in 2003 he was Director of the Bedford Group for Life Course and Statistical Studies, the Centre for Longitudinal Studies and founder Director of the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy & Numeracy.

    "Reder and Bynner—two eminent authorities in the field--provide an indispensable resource for scholars, policymakers, and teachers in adult literacy education. This volume will advance the field well beyond our current understanding, providing crucial insights into the myriad impacts of literacy education on adults’ lives and well-being."

    M Cecil Smith, Ph.D.

    Professor of Educational Psychology

    Northern Illinois University