Progress on adult literacy and numeracy in Wales
English literacy skills in Wales have seen a marked improvement since 2004 and numeracy skills have also increased, although by a smaller margin. Welsh literacy levels experienced a slight fall during the same period. These were the headline findings of a survey of adult literacy and numeracy skills in Wales which has been published by the Welsh Government.
The research was based on two linked surveys conducted in 2010: an English-medium survey of literacy and numeracy skills and a Welsh-medium survey of Welsh literacy skills. Approximately 2,000 adults between 16 and 65 completed the English survey and 1,000 the Welsh survey.
The English-medium survey found that:
- literacy results were similar for men and women, and both had improved to a similar extent compared to the results of the previous survey in 2004;
- there was a considerable gender gap in numeracy results, with 60% of women assessed at entry level against 41% of men, and, at the higher end, 29% of men assessed at level 2 or above, in contrast with 13% of women;
- those assessed at entry level for literacy or numeracy were more likely to claim housing benefit or council tax support, sickness or disability benefit or unemployment benefit than the sample as a whole;
- those in work were half as likely to be assessed at entry level for literacy as respondents who were unemployed; and
- those with entry level literacy were much less likely to have access to the Internet or to have use of a computer than the whole sample of respondents.
The authors conclude that the target for English literacy set out in the 2001 Basic Skills Strategy, that 80% of working adults in Wales should have at least level 1 literacy by 2010 has been exceeded, with 88% of respondents assessed at level 1 or higher. However, progress on numeracy has been slower, with 50% of respondents assessed at level 1 or above, against a target of 55%.
The full report, National Survey of Adult Skills in Wales 2010, is available here.