Header Logo


Troubling U.S. Performance on Survey of Adult Skills


October 14, 2013


Troubling U.S. Performance on Survey of Adult Skills

The OECD has conducted its first Survey of Adult Skills, analyzing the skills of more than 150,000 adults across the world in literacy and numeracy as well as problem solving in technology-rich environments. The United States was ranked below average in each of the three domains:

  • Literacy: The U.S. was ranked 16th out of the 23 OECD nations
  • Numeracy: The U.S. came in at 21st out of 23
  • Problem solving: The U.S. was ranked 14th out of 23

U.S. adults scored particularly poorly in numeracy, with a wide gap between the numeracy of older adults and young people: The numeracy of U.S. 55-65 year-olds was about average, but the numeracy of the 16-24 age group was the lowest among all participating countries.

In addition, findings point to a gap between postsecondary attainment in the U.S. and the proficiencies that are expected to go along with this level of education. For instance, In the 25-34 age group, numeracy and literacy proficiency were low, despite a high proportion of 25-34-year-olds with higher education credentials.   

Finally, the research also pointed to significant proficiency gaps between the high and low end of the socioeconomic ladder.  

Several key policy points outlined in the report will look familiar to CTE advocates:

  • Connect the domains of learning and work
  • Provide relevant, flexible training for workers
  • Provide transparent, easy-to-locate career guidance and information about adult education
  • Recognize and certify skills proficiency

My ACTE Login Image



Renew · Learn About Membership


Divisions · Regions · State Associations

CTE Policy Watch Blog

Education Leader George Miller to Retire

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), ranking member on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and winner of ACTE’s Policymaker of the Year Award, announced his retirement on Monday. He will not seek re-election in 2014.

House Passes FY 14 Omnibus Bill With Perkins Increase; Senate to Vote Soon

The FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill passed overwhelmingly on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 359-67. As we previously reported, the omnibus bill includes a $53 million increase for Perkins! The Senate is expected to vote on the measure before the end of the week. Please take a few minutes to reach out to your Senators and urge them to vote YES on this bill.


ACTE Calendar

Sunday, December 21, 2014

ACTE 2015 Election Closes

Monday, March 02, 2015

2015 National Policy Seminar

View All Events

Introducing the new
Visa® Platinum Rewards card.