Australian Bureau of Statistics
Aspects of Literacy (Survey of)
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NAME OF ORGANISATION
The survey was designed to provide objective assessments of aspects of the population's literacy levels, dealing only with material printed in English. Approximately 13, 000 people aged 15 to 74 years were selected across Australia for the survey. They were asked to provide some background information about themselves and then to complete a set of 'everyday' tasks requiring comprehension and simple arithmetic such as using a bus timetable and adding up the cost of a meal from a menu. Responses to the tasks were then used to derive literacy skill levels.
By conducting the SAL at this time Australia is participating in the International Adult Literacy Survey involving many OECD countries undertaking surveys with the same methodology.
The objectives of the survey are to provide a profile of aspects of the the population's literacy. Aspects of Australians' literacy skills can be profiled against details such as educational attainment, labour force experience and status, ethnicity, socio-economic characteristics, self perception of literacy skills and literacy practices.
The SAL covered all persons aged 15-74 inclusive, except for:
Also excluded were some 175,000 persons living in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual States and Territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such persons account for over 20% of the population.
The SAL collects data for persons aged 15-74 years, resident in private dwellings. The main output consists of distributions of the population across 5 literacy levels for each of Prose Literacy, Document Literacy, and Quantitative Literacy. These can be produced for a wide range of classificatory variables, including:
The survey uses ABS standards for major variables. In addition, data can be produced according to the International classifications of: ISCED, ISIC and ISCO.
Other concepts (summary)
The concepts underlying the literacy levels are complex, inquiries should be directed to the contact officer for the collection.
Comments and/or Other Regions
At this stage it is not planned to run another SAL
First half of 1993 - feasibility study into SAL
September 1994 - Pilot Test 1
March 1995 - Pilot Test 2
October 1995 - Dress Rehearsal
2 May 1996 - Survey enumeration
May 1997 - first results
September 1997 - main results
Data availability comments
Data is available in the form of special tabulations on request.
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This page last updated 13 November 2014