Literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills – Foundation skills for a knowledge-based economy (2005)

Education Matters: Insights on Education, Learning and Training in Canada, June 2005, Vol. 2 No. 2

While Canada has made progress on a number of educational fronts, recent results from the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) show there is little room for complacency, according to the authors of this Statistics Canada analysis.

The IALSS tested more than 23,000 Canadians age 16 years or more in 2003 on their skills proficiency in prose literacy, document literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving, then rated their skills on a five-level scale, from lowest to highest. In Canada, about 42 percent of adults between the ages of 16 and 65 scored below Level 3 on the prose scale, and about 50 percent scored below Level 3 on the numeracy scale. Those people are likely to have trouble coping with increasing literacy- and numeracy-related demands of life and work in a knowledge society and information economy, the authors note.

They also point out that although education is important, some individuals with low levels of educational attainment perform better than others who have more education. In Canada, one-quarter of individuals who had completed some kind of postsecondary education scored in the bottom 25 percent of individuals, while one-quarter of those with less than a high school education scored among the top 25 percent of individuals.

One key message of the IALSS study is that literacy pays dividends, the authors say. The likelihood of being employed or unemployed, of finding a job while being unemployed, and of earning higher wages all are related to stronger literacy skills.

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2013-04-15
APA citation
Statistics Canada. Literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills – Foundation skills for a knowledge-based economy 2005. Web. 20 Jan. 2021 <http://en.copian.ca/library/learning/statistics_canada/foundation_skills/foundation_skills.pdf>
Statistics Canada (2005). Literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills – Foundation skills for a knowledge-based economy. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from http://en.copian.ca/library/learning/statistics_canada/foundation_skills/foundation_skills.pdf
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