Adult Literacy Research Center

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Are you interested in adults with low numeracy skills? The American Institute of Research is commissioning several papers utilizing the PIAAC data. Proposals are due Oct 21. Read more… 

With 1 in 6 U. S. adults reading at elementary levels, many adults have difficulty with daily tasks that involve reading, numeracy, and problem solving1. Adult literacy difficulties are pervasive and require a multi-pronged approach to addressing low adult literacy skills in our country. Our mission is to link theory and practice through inter-disciplinary research, professional development, and community partnerships to understand the challenges and opportunities for adults with low literacy skills. Our research focus is broad and includes both programmatic interventions and more general areas of adult literacy.






ADULT BASIC EDUCATION – for adult students who are not enrolled in school and who want to improve their basic skills in reading, writing, math, listening, and speaking

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL) – for adult students whose native language is not English to increase proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening

GENERAL EQUIVALENCE DIPLOMA (GED) – for adult students who wish to receive a credential equivalent to a high school diploma

REMEDIAL POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION – for adults at the college level who take non-credit bearing courses to improve math, reading, and writing skills


DIGITAL LITERACY – the ability to use digital tools to access, identify, and integrate information

FAMILY LITERACY – the opportunity for parents and children to learn together to improve intergenerational literacy

FINANCIAL LITERACY – the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively

HEALTH LITERACY – the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services

WORKFORCE and WORKPLACE LITERACY – the ability to possess the reading, writing, math and communication skills needed on the job


For more information, contact Iris Feinberg, Assistant Director, at


1 National Center for Education Statistics (2013). Literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments among U.S. adults: Results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies 2012 (U.S. Department of Education, NCES 2014-008). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.