Tracking Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills: Findings from Longitudinal Research, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Tracking Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills

Findings from Longitudinal Research, 1st Edition

Edited by Stephen Reder, John Bynner


392 pages | 39 B/W Illus.

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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.


"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

"This book contributes to our understanding of literacy learning in adulthood with the advancement of longitudinal methodologies. Readers interested in longitudinal research can turn to this book as a resource for its thoughtful discussion of the affordances and constraints of longitudinal research and for its extensive bibliographies."—Reading Research Quarterly

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Need for Longitudinal Studies in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education Stephen Reder and John Bynner Part I: Literacy and Numeracy Development 1. Insights into Basic Skills from a UK Longitudinal Study John Bynner and Samantha Parsons 2. The Development of Literacy and Numeracy in Adult Life Stephen Reder 3. Longitudinal Research Related to Adult Literacy and Education T. Scott Murray Part II: Student, Teacher and Classroom Studies 4. Developing Learners’ Reading Skills in Adult Basic Education Programs Judith Alamprese 5. "What Works" for Adult Students of English as a Second Language Larry Condelli, Heide Spruck Wrigley and Kwang S. Yoon 6. Student Persistence in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Programs John Comings 7. Teacher Attitudes Towards the "Skills for Life" National Strategy for Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills Olga Cara and Jennifer H. Litster 8. The Impact of the "Skills for Life" Learning Infrastructure on Learners: A Summary of Methods and Findings John Vorhaus, Ursula Howard, Greg Brooks, Ann Marie Bathmaker and Yvon Appleby Part III: The Impact of Policy and Programs 9. Outcomes for Basic Skills Learners: A Four-year Longitudinal Study Hillary Metcalf & Pamela Meadows 10. Enhancing "Skills for Life": Workplace Learning and Adult Basic Skills Karen Evans, Edmond Waite and Lul Admasachew 11. Improving the Literacy and Numeracy of Young Offenders Jane Hurry, Laura Brazier and Anita Wilson Part IV: Social and Economic Outcomes in Context 12. Using a Longitudinal Approach with State Administrative Records to Evaluate Adult Education Programs in the United States Stephen Rose 13. The Tennessee Longitudinal Study of Adult Literacy Program Participants Mary Beth Bingman 14. Outcomes of Literacy Improvement: A Longitudinal View Barbara McDonald and Patricia Scollay 15. ‘The more you learn the better you feel': Research into Literacies, Learning and Identity in Scotland Kathy Maclachlan, Lyn Tett, and Stuart Hall 16. Adults’ Lives and Learning in Different Contexts: A View Over Time Yvon Appleby and David Barton

About the Editors

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.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education

This series aims to present the latest research from right across the field of education. It is not confined to any particular area or school of thought and seeks to provide coverage of a broad range of topics, theories and issues from around the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Adult & Continuing Education
EDUCATION / Research