The study classified a sample of 1,526 Kentucky adults age 16 and over into four levels (below basic, basic, intermediate and proficient) for three areas of literacy: prose, document and quantitative.
According to the report, 42 percent of Kentucky adults scored at the basic or below basic level in reading prose (continuous text). The national average is 43 percent.
Tom Layzell, president of the Council in Postsecondary Education, explained that the state isn’t exactly thrilled with the results, despite being comparable to the national averages.
“The Council has set a goal [to] double the number of Kentuckians with bachelor’s degrees by 2020,” Layzell said in a press release. “We cannot meet that goal when 42 percent of Kentuckians do not have the literacy skills that position them to be successful in college or the workforce.”
The report said below-basic literacy represents “simple and concrete literacy skills, such as signing a form or adding the amounts on a bank deposit slip.” It defines basic literacy as representing the “skills necessary to perform simple and everyday literacy activities, such as using a TV Guide to find out what programs are on at a specific time or comparing the ticket prices for two events.”
Only 11 percent of Kentuckians scored in the highest range, proficient, in reading prose. Though a low percentage, the national average is only 13 percent. However, 48 percent of Kentuckians scored in the intermediate range, higher than the national average of 44 percent.
As with the rest of the nation, the report cites a “significant achievement gap” between the literacy levels of Caucasians and African Americans.
For quantitative literacy (reading that requires mental computation and assessment, as in deducing an editorial’s point-of-view), 3 percent of black Kentuckians scored as proficient, versus 11 percent of whites. On a national scale, 2 percent of blacks scored as proficient, versus 17 percent of whites.
For the rest of this article, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.