National survey shows positive adult literacy skills

Scotland’s adult literacy levels are on a par with the world’s most advanced economies, according to a new national survey published today. 

The Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies (SSAL) 2009, the most robust study to cover adult literacy to date, shows the vast majority, 73.3 per cent of Scots have an internationally recognised level of skill needed in a contemporary society while only 3.6 per cent have poor literacy skills.
The results will inform the Scottish Government’s Literacy Action Plan, due for publication in the autumn, which will outline the next steps to further raise standards of literacy from early years through to adult learning.
The plan will build on the importance of literacy development within Curriculum for Excellence, and the recent Big Plus campaign to improve skills across Scotland.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell said:
“Literacy is an essential skill to unlock learning and lead to improved life chances, so today’s publication which highlights robust levels of literacy in Scotland should be welcomed.
“However, as encouraging as the findings are, we will not be complacent on this issue. There are a small number of people facing serious challenges with literacy in their daily lives and the Scottish Government is working to address the issue of social and economic exclusion faced by adults with low literacy skills through the upcoming Literacy Action Plan.
“The Plan aims to raise standards of teaching and learning across the country so we can focus on ensuring children, young people, and adults have the right levels of literacy, for learning, life and work.
“To see literacy levels in Scotland rated on a par with many of the world’s leading economies gives us modest satisfaction. However, this Government knows that much more can be done, and is working to ensure no individual is left behind by not having such vital skills.”
Commenting on the results, Dr Gill Stewart, Director of Qualifications Development at SQA said: “We are committed to supporting literacy development and contributing to the economic success of Scotland, improving social inclusion amongst its people and recognising their personal development achievements.
“Today’s results illustrate the majority of Scots do have the skills needed to successfully contribute to a contemporary society.  However there is still work to be done ensuring those who have poor literacy skills receive the support they need.
“We already provide support for adult literacies learning through a range of qualifications that can be offered to adults seeking to improve their literacy skills as well as qualifications for those who deliver literacies learning to adults.  We will continue to provide flexible, qualifications which benefit Scottish adult literacies learning.
“We are also developing freestanding national qualifications in literacy and numeracy that will be available to adult learners as part of the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence programme. It is hoped these qualifications, like those which will soon be available to school pupils across the country, will be accessible to all and provide people across Scotland with the skills required to be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.”
To download a copy of the Scottish Survery of Adult Literacies (SSAL) 2009 report, click here.
To download a copy of the research findings summary, click here.
To download a copy of the technical report, click here.