4233.0 - Health Literacy, Australia, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/06/2008   
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APPENDIX LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY

Since the health literacy domain is a non-specific skill and is drawn from four different skill sets, it was derived as a by-product from all four domains; prose and document literacy, numeracy and problem solving. However the score ranges for the health literacy domain are the same as for prose and document literacy and numeracy.


ABOUT THE LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY

For each literacy domain, proficiency was measured on a scale ranging from 0 to 500 points. To facilitate analysis, these continuous scores were grouped into 5 skill levels (only 4 levels were defined for the problem solving scale), with Level 1 being the lowest measured level of literacy and 5 the highest. The relatively small proportion of respondents who actually reach Level 5 often results in unreliable estimates of the number of people at this level. For this reason, whenever results are presented by skill level, Levels 4 and 5 are combined. A summarised version of the framework used in the ALLS can be found in an ETS monograph, The International Adult Literacy Survey: Understanding What Was Measured (2001). More information can also be found on the ETS web site <www.ets.org>.


PROSE LITERACY

Level 1 (0-225)

Most of the tasks in this level require the respondent to read relatively short text to locate a single piece of information which is identical to or synonymous with the information given in the question or directive. If plausible but incorrect information is present in the text, it tends not to be located near the correct information.


Level 2 (226-275)

Some tasks in this level require respondents to locate a single piece of information in the text; however, several distractors or plausible but incorrect pieces of information may be present, or low-level inferences may be required. Other tasks require the respondent to integrate two or more pieces of information or to compare and contrast easily identifiable information based on a criterion provided in the question or directive.


Level 3 (276-325)

Tasks in this level tend to require respondents to make literal or synonymous matches between the text and information given in the task, or to make matches that require low-level inferences. Other tasks ask respondents to integrate information from dense or lengthy text that contains no organisational aids such as headings. Respondents may also be asked to generate a response based on information that can be easily identified in the text. Distracting information is present, but is not located near the correct information.


Level 4 (326-375)

These tasks require respondents to perform multiple-feature matches and to integrate or synthesize information from complex or lengthy passages. More complex inferences are needed to perform successfully. Conditional information is frequently present in tasks at this level and must be taken into consideration by the respondent.


Level 5 (376-500)

Some tasks in this level require the respondent to search for information in dense text which contains a number of plausible distractors. Others ask respondents to make high-level inferences or use specialized background knowledge. Some tasks ask respondents to contrast complex information.


DOCUMENT LITERACY

Level 1 (0-225)

Tasks in this level tend to require the respondent either to locate a piece of information based on a literal match or to enter information from personal knowledge onto a document. Little, if any, distracting information is present.


Level 2 (226-275)

Tasks in this level are more varied than those in Level 1. Some require the respondents to match a single piece of information; however, several distractors may be present, or the match may require low-level inferences. Tasks in this level may also ask the respondent to cycle through information in a document or to integrate information from various parts of a document.


Level 3 (276-325)

Some tasks in this level require the respondent to integrate multiple pieces of information from one or more documents. Others ask respondents to cycle through rather complex tables or graphs which contain information that is irrelevant or inappropriate to the task.


Level 4 (326-375)

Tasks in this level, like those at the previous levels, ask respondents to perform multiple-feature matches, cycle through documents, and integrate information; however, they require a greater degree of inferencing. Many of these tasks require respondents to provide numerous responses but do not designate how many responses are needed. Conditional information is also present in the document tasks at this level and must be taken into account by the respondent.


Level 5 (376-500)

Tasks in this level require the respondent to search through complex displays that contain multiple distractors, to make high-level text-based inferences, and to use specialised knowledge.


NUMERACY

Level 1 (0-225)

Tasks in this level require the respondent to show an understanding of basic numerical ideas by completing simple tasks in concrete, familiar contexts where the mathematical content is explicit with little text. Tasks consist of simple, one-step operations such as counting, sorting dates, performing simple arithmetic operations or understanding common and simple percentages such as 50%.


Level 2 (226-275)

Tasks in this level are fairly simple and relate to identifying and understanding basic mathematical concepts embedded in a range of familiar contexts where the mathematical content is quite explicit and visual with few distractors. Tasks tend to include one-step or two-step processes and estimations involving whole numbers, benchmark percents and fractions, interpreting simple graphical or spatial representations, and performing simple measurements.


Level 3 (276-325)

Tasks in this level require the respondent to demonstrate understanding of mathematical information represented in a range of different forms, such as in numbers, symbols, maps, graphs, texts, and drawings. Skills required involve number and spatial sense, knowledge of mathematical patterns and relationships and the ability to interpret proportions, data and statistics embedded in relatively simple texts where there may be distractors. Tasks commonly involve undertaking a number of processes to solve problems.


Level 4 (326-375)

Tasks at this level require respondents to understand a broad range of mathematical information of a more abstract nature represented in diverse ways, including in texts of increasing complexity or in unfamiliar contexts. These tasks involve undertaking multiple steps to find solutions to problems and require more complex reasoning and interpretation skills, including comprehending and working with proportions and formulas or offering explanations for answers.


Level 5 (376-500)

Tasks in this level require respondents to understand complex representations and abstract and formal mathematical and statistical ideas, possibly embedded in complex texts. Respondents may have to integrate multiple types of mathematical information, draw inferences, or generate mathematical justification for answers.


PROBLEM SOLVING

Level 1 (0-250)

Tasks in this level typically require the respondent to make simple inferences, based on limited information stemming from a familiar context. Tasks in this level are rather concrete with a limited scope of reasoning. They require the respondent to make simple connections, without having to systematically check any constraints. The respondent has to draw direct consequences, based on the information given and on his/her previous knowledge about a familiar context.


Level 2 (251-300)

Tasks in this level often require the respondent to evaluate certain alternatives with regard to well-defined, transparent, explicitly stated criteria. The reasoning however may be done step-by-step, in a linear process, without loops or backtracking. Successful problem solving may require the combination of information from different sources, e.g. from the question section and the information section of the test booklet.


Level 3 (301-350)

Some tasks in this level require the respondent to order several objects according to given criteria. Other tasks require the respondent to determine a sequence of actions/events or to construct a solution by taking non-transparent or multiple interdependent constraints into account. The reasoning process goes back and forth in a non-linear manner, requiring a good deal of self-regulation. At this level respondents often have to cope with multi-dimensional or ill-defined goals.


Level 4 (351-500)

Items in this level require the respondent to judge the completeness, consistency and/or dependency among multiple criteria. In many cases, the respondent has to explain how the solution was reached and why it is correct. The respondent has to reason from a meta-perspective, taking into account an entire system of problem solving states and possible solutions. Often the criteria and the goals have to be inferred from the given information before actually starting the solution process.