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Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn
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Nallnac2014 key note-lifelong-learningwillamthorn

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  • 1. LEARNING, LITERACY AND THE LIFECYCLE National Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Conference 2014, Melbourne, 1-2 May 2014 William Thorn, OECD
  • 2. • Look at the relationships between literacy proficiency and education and training over the lifecycle • Give an idea of some of the questions that the data from PIAAC can help answer • Make some comments about implications of some findings for research policy and practice Objectives
  • 3. • Two relatively distinct phases of educational participation – ‘initial’ education and training (mid-teens to late 20s) – ‘adult’ or post-initial phase (from late 20s) Lifelong learning: a reality check
  • 4. Percentage of adults participating in formal and non-formal education by age 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 Formal education Non-formal education Age %
  • 5. • Exit from formal education/training corresponds to: – Entry to employment – Family formation Lifelong learning
  • 6. Employment rate by age 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 Participates in formal education Participates in non-formal education Employed Age %
  • 7. Family formation 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 Participates in formal education Participates in non-formal education Lives with spouse or partner Has at least one child younger than 16 years Age %
  • 8. • Progression through initial education is reflected in the large changes in educational attainment by age • On average, the bulk of formal education and training is consumed before the age of 30 Lifelong learning
  • 9. Percentage of adults by level of educational attainment and age 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 Lower than upper secondary Upper secondary Tertiary Age %
  • 10. • Participation in non-formal education/training is closely linked to employment – Rates of participation are higher for the employed than for either the unemployed or adults who are not in the labour force Lifelong learning
  • 11. Percentage of adults participating in non-formal education by age and employment status 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 Employed Unemployed Out of the labour force Age %
  • 12. • Change in literacy proficiency by age appears to reflect broad stages of educational participation. We look separately at: – 16-29 year olds, and – 30-65 year olds Literacy, education and age 230 240 250 260 270 280 290 300 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52 55 58 61 64 Age Mean score: literacy
  • 13. • Two issues – Proficiency growth and its relationship to the ‘volume’ of education taken after the age of 15 – Sorting/selection and progression through initial education Initial education
  • 14. • On average across the sample, 27 year olds have higher proficiency than 16 year olds (13.7 score points) – Variation between countries • Close relationship between the increment in the volume of education associated with a years increase in age and the increment in proficiency Proficiency growth
  • 15. Proficiency growth 270 272 274 276 278 280 282 284 286 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mean score Years of education from age 15 Literacy proficiency by estimated years of education from 15 years of age
  • 16. • Differences between different age cohorts are not the same as changes within a cohort over time • To estimate proficiency growth we need to know the literacy proficiency of the 27 year old cohort at age 16 (i.e. in 2001). – This is not observed in PIAAC Proficiency growth
  • 17. Actual and predicted literacy proficiency for 26-27 year olds in PIAAC. • Proficiency predicted on basis of average PISA reading score in 2000, estimated years in education by age 27 and labour market conditions over 2008-2011 Proficiency growth 240.0 250.0 260.0 270.0 280.0 290.0 300.0 310.0 Actual Predicted
  • 18. • The evidence suggests that: – there is growth in literacy proficiency after age 15. However, the quantum is difficult to estimate. – Growth after 15 is small compared to growth prior to 15 – Proficiency growth related to the time spent in education after 15, and – proficiency at age 27 is related to proficiency at age 15. Proficiency growth: summary
  • 19. • Progression through secondary and post- secondary education involves both learning and sorting. – Ensuring that young people are directed to the courses and programs that best reflect their talents and abilities is a more or less explicit goal of policy. – Selection is explicit for many courses (e.g. entry to university. – Young people also self-select given their interests and their perception of their ability. Sorting/selection effects
  • 20. Literacy mean scores by age (16-29) and educational attainment 200 220 240 260 280 300 320 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 Lower than upper secondary Upper secondary Tertiary Age Mean score
  • 21. • Two sets of questions – What are the explanations for the observed decline in literacy proficiency from the age of 30 age and does education play any role in mitigating this? – What is the relationship between participation in non-formal education and training and proficiency in literacy? Post-initial or ‘adult’ education and training
  • 22. • Changing composition of the adult population in terms of educational attainment explains some of the decline. • However, decline is observed across all levels of attainment – Difference between 30 and 65 year olds slightly less for people with less than upper secondary attainment. Proficiency decline from the age of 30
  • 23. Literacy mean scores by age (25-65) and educational attainment 200 220 240 260 280 300 320 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 Lower than upper secondary Upper secondary Tertiary Age Mean score
  • 24. • Changes in educational quality • Skills depreciation • Age-related cognitive decline Proficiency decline: possible reasons
  • 25. • Seems unlikely as an explanation – Implausible that changes have been constant over time, in one direction only and affect all levels of education in a similar way – Compositional changes may occur within populations with the same level of attainment. This may help explain the fact that the proficiency gap between the 65 and 30 year olds is less for people with low levels of education. • Increasing rates of completion of higher levels of education may mean that younger adults with low educational attainment have lower proficiency than their older peers did at the same age. Change in educational quality?
  • 26. • Possible explanation – Evidence that practices change with age. Proportion of adults reporting that they never read a book increases with age. – Lack of or loss of familiarity with taking tests related to age may also be relevant Skills atrophy 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 Never At least once a week but not every day Every day Age % Frequency of reading books by age
  • 27. • Evidence that ‘fluid intelligence’ declines with age from early adulthood. • ‘Crystallised’ intelligence increases over much of the lifespan • PIAAC tests may have more in common with fluid than crystallised intelligence Age-related cognitive decline
  • 28. • Observed decline seems likely to relate to cognitive decline and atrophy • Higher levels of education do not protect against decline. – However, decline starts from a higher level. • Does it matter? – Literacy proficiency is one factor contributing to social functioning – Maximum performance is rarely required – Accumulated knowledge and experience may offset other aspects of decline – Individuals adapt to their environment and also adapt their environment to their capacities Summary
  • 29. • Discussions about ‘adult education and training’ tend to focus questions of quantum and access. In particular: – Investment by employers in training – Inequalities in access, particularly, for the low educated and low skilled. • PIAAC can shed light on the issues of access Non-formal education and training: inequality, inequity and the Matthew effect
  • 30. • Participation relatively stable for adults aged 30-50. The fall after 50 years of age reflects falling employment rates. • The volume of training is negatively related to age. Access 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 64 Age Mean hours Average hours in non-formal education in the previous 12 months by age
  • 31. • Participation and volume of training are related to both educational attainment and literacy proficiency – The more highly educated and the more proficient do more training • Outcome is that the gap in the volume of training undertaken by adults with high proficiency and those with poor proficiency will increase as they age Access
  • 32. Percentage of adults participating in non- formal education by age and position in the literacy proficiency distribution 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 <25th percentile >=25th and <75th percentile >=75th percentile Age %
  • 33. Estimated lifetime consumption of non-formal education by position in the literacy proficiency distribution (from the age of 30) 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 <25th percentile >=25th and <75th percentile >=75th percentile Age Mean hours
  • 34. • Not necessarily – More proficient are more likely to be in jobs that require more training and to have the interest in and dispositions to undertake more training. – Cannot say that the less educated or less proficient ‘need’ more training than their better educated/more proficient peers. • Better to address the question of the adequacy of provision. Is inequality inequity?
  • 35. • Range of approaches to the question – Unmet demand – Assessments of need – Effectiveness of provision • Unmet demand (excess of demand over supply) – Surveys generally show little unmet demand for training among low skilled adults. To the extent that such adults want to do more training, but are unable to do so, the reasons relate to issues that prevent them actualising a demand (e.g. they don’t have the time) rather than lack of supply. – Surveys of employers show similar findings. There is a perceived need to provide literacy training for example. However, this is often not translated into training because of the costs (both direct and in terms of foregone output). Adequacy of supply (with a focus on literacy related training)
  • 36. • Global assessments of need – Based on judgements about evolution of technology, the economy and society and resulting needs for skills – Can come up with big estimates (e.g. OECD, SCOTESE in Australia) Adequacy of supply
  • 37. • Effectiveness of literacy programmes – Evidence of proficiency gains patchy – Programmes need to be of sufficient duration (100 hours plus) • Summary – ‘Adequacy’ a matter of judgement to a large degree – Should not discount the views of the principal agents (adults with low proficiency and firms) Adequacy of supply
  • 38. • Importance of schooling for literacy proficiency • The duration/cost dilemma for adult literacy programmes • Training is not the only response to literacy problems • Equity in a lifelong learning context • Peak performance is not always required Some concluding comments
  • 39. Find Out More About PIAAC at: www.oecd.org/site/piaac All international publications The complete micro-level database and associated documentation Data tools Email william.thorn@OECD.org Thank you

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