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Literacy among youths 12-17 years, United States
  • Published Date:
    December 1973
Filetype[PDF - 2.00 MB]


Details:
  • Personal Authors:
  • Corporate Authors:
    National Center for Health Statistics (U.S.)
  • Pubmed ID:
    25208470
  • Description:
    "Prevalence of illiteracy as measured by the Brief Test of Literacy among youths by selected socioeconomic and demographic variables."

    This report presents information on the extent of illiteracy among American youths as assessed by a test specially constructed for this purpose and administered as part of the Health Examination Survey during 1966-70. The decision to include such a test in this particular program of the series of surveys was made because a relationship has long been recognized between certain states of ill health and illiteracy; it was therefore considered desirable to obtain a measure of the prevalence of illiteracy in the population along with relevant medical data. This first report contains the findings on illiteracy rates by sex, age, and certain socioeconomic and demographic variables only. Discussion of the findings in relation to health data will be published in subsequent reports. A number of attempts have been made in the last few years to define and assess the prevalence of illiteracy in the United States. The approaches to the problem vary widely. Sometimes estimated rates of illiteracy are based on household interviews where one household member provides information on the reading or writing ability of other members. In other cases literacy data are related to the ability of a person to perform specific functions, for example, completing application forms. The purpose and unique function of the Health Examination Survey, however, was to use direct examination and therefore a test was developed which could be administered to each sample person. This "Brief Test of Literacy" was specially constructed and pretested for the survey by Thomas .F. Donlon and W. Miles McPeek of the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey. It adopted a definition of literacy which is commonly used in this country, namely, "literacy is that level of achievement which is attained by the average child in the United States at the beginning of the fourth grade. The items of the test were developed on the basis of this definition and the test was validated on a group of fourth graders. The estimates of illiteracy presented in this report are based on the same definition.

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