Facts and Statistics
What you'll find on this page:
Children’s and Family Literacy
As for specific early childhood best practices, the work of Justice and Pullen (2006) demonstrates the value of programs that include story-telling, literacy related play activities and the use of teacher-guided phonological awareness. Learning from the best practices of successful programs both in the local area and in the region will help to identify the most effective program models.
However, not all reports describe the same level of success. The Even Start research over the years has been mixed; a 2005 study (St. Pierre, Riccuiti & Rimdzius) reported disappointing results especially in the areas of program intensity and quality. National Education Association research reports:
The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from preschool through high school. A home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level or cultural background.
Reading achievement is more dependent on learning activities in the home than is math or science. Reading aloud to children is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child’s chance of reading success. Talking to children about books and stories read to them also supports reading achievement.
When children and parents talk regularly about school, children perform better academically. Three kinds of parental involvement at home are consistently associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and monitoring a child’s time, helping with homework and discussing school matters. The earlier that parent involvement begins in a child’s educational process, the more powerful the effects.
Positive results of parental involvement include improved student achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved behavior, and restored confidence among parents in their children’s schooling.
The outcomes of parental involvement have been documented in the following research: Parent involvement leads to improved educational performance (Epstein et al., 2002; Fan & Chen, 2001; NMSA, 2003; Sheldon & Epstein, 2002; Van Voorhis, 2003).
Some research shows that what is done after school has at least as much bearing on success for some students than what is accomplished in the school day (National School Board Association Report – Building and sustaining After School Programs). There is growing recognition that participation in afterschool programming is associated with better grades, work habits and task persistence and builds confidence, self esteem and improved attitudes toward school. Durdak and Weisberg (2007) reported in the Impact of Afterschool Programs That Promote Social and Personal Skills that it is vital to invest in quality afterschool programming.
There is a wide range of programming from sports through arts and culture to clubs and formal tutoring and mentoring but most do not infuse literacy activities deliberately in activities.
National Education Association‘s 12 Dropout Action Steps:
However students, as young as thirteen and as old as twenty-one who have dropped out of traditional education, need special assistance. These youth need access to high quality alternative education and training opportunities to equip them to compete in today’s labor market.
In 1971, nationally male dropouts working full-time earned $35,087. By 2002, this figure had fallen 35 percent, to $23,903. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its publication, Occupational Outlook, Winter 2004-2005, “when an occupation has workers with different levels of education, the worker with more education is better able to compete for the job (Moncarz, R. and Crosby, O. 2004-2005, p. 6).” The Outlook goes on to describe how individuals with a high school degree and some college or vocational training are more likely to be hired, to earn more when they start a job and over a lifetime, and to become supervisors.
Aron‘s work also notes, “Reconnecting youth requires collaboration and coordination among multiple youth-serving systems: these certainly include school and youth employment and training programs, but also child protective service systems, the juvenile justice system, and a variety of health and human services agencies, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies, crisis intervention centers, runaway and homeless youth shelters, and others.”
Adult Literacy and ESOL
When programs are contextualized for learner needs there is definite improvement in results. The 2006 study by Beder, Tomkins, Medina, Riccioni and Deng researched various factors influencing the adult literacy classroom and concluded that teacher roles, contextualized instructional models and classroom norms all had an effect on the success of the participants. Unfortunately improving instruction can sometimes prove difficult; the Center for Adult English Acquisition notes in a 2005 study that because of the part time nature of most adult education instructors they do not have ready access to professional development.
Demand for ESOL programs nationwide has increased with the growing number of immigrants over the past ten years. A 2006 study by the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education notes that 78% of ESOL programs had waiting lists because they were unable to create additional capacity to serve the local need. Nationwide, over 90,000 people were unable to enroll because of lack of classes.
In a 2003 literacy test, seniors (65+) scored far below any other adult age group in a 2003 literacy test. Their score of 214/500 was significantly lower than teenagers, young adults and those in middle age. Part of this result can be explained by the fact many seniors grew up in a time when educational opportunities were less available; another reason is that mental skills, including literacy skills, can decline with old age.
Learning Disabilities and other Disabilities
When released back into society, this population has an extremely difficult time getting jobs due to their prison records, but for those without sufficient education and literacy skills finding employment is nearly impossible (Executive Summary, Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, 2008). Research suggests that education in prison is a major way to increase employment rates for those released and reduce their likelihood of committing future crimes. The 2003 NAAL report indicated that 19% of inmates had achieved a GED while incarcerated and a further five percent were enrolled in programs that might lead to a GED.
In all categories, prose, quantitative and document, literacy levels were lower for those incarcerated than for those who were not.
The skills needed to get and keep jobs are referred to as workplace literacy, or Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) when taught in the context of language acquisition. In Reach Higher, America: Overcoming the Crisis in the U.S. Workforce (2008), the research on workforce literacy is summarized bluntly: “America‘s workforce is compromised by a lagging K-12 education system, a significant increase in immigration from non-English speaking countries, and an adult education system that is now obsolete and ill-equipped to meet the 21st century needs.”
A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age (2004) reported that more than 65% of households own a computer and with the price of computers becoming cheaper year by year access is rapidly increasing. However, the digital divide highlights the fact that those who do not own or have access to computers are often those with the fewest skills and resources. Therefore those who might benefit most from this powerful tool to increase their skills are often the very people for whom it is least accessible.
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