Educational CyberPlayGround


TAGS: #adult functually illiterate, #reading, #literacy instruction, #Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) #CCC

2015 America's Skills Challenge: Millenials and the Future PDF Educational Testing Service
Overview: Millennials may be on track to be our most educated generation ever, but they consistently score below many of their international peers in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving. The results of this report help shed light on the growing inequality of opportunity in the U.S. and the impact this has on both skills acquisition and outcomes for both current and future generations.
This report, the first in a series to be produced by Educational Testing Service using data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), is an attempt to focus attention on a topic of interest to a broad range of constituencies. The subject of this report is our nation's millennials, those young adults born after 1980 who were 16-34 years of age at the time of the assessment. The authors chose to center attention on this cohort for several key reasons. First, these young adults include the most recent products of our educational systems. Second, according to recent reports, they have attained the most years of schooling of any cohort in American history. And, finally, millennials will shape the economic and social landscape of our country for many years to come.

Dan Ritter Writes:

- How do the average scores of U.S. millennials compare with those in other participating countries?

- How do U.S. top-performing and lower performing millennials compare to their international peers?

- What is the degree of inequality in the score distribution?

This fails to ask some important questions. The USA does not have a single educational system. It has 50 state systems for primary and secondary schools, each of which is roughly comparable to a European nation -- some are small, some are large.

Are there differences between those state systems similar to the differences between nations?

How do the best state systems compare to the best other national school systems?

(I have some answers: yes, the differences between state systems are as large as the difference between national systems. And if Massachusetts were a country, we would all be looking at how we could copy their system, not Finland's.)

The 2012 PISA reading scores for Massachusetts were 527. Math was 514. Science was 527. Finland's were 524, 519, and 545 respectively. Better in two of three categories, but with a different population on a different continent with different resources facing different constraints and challenges. Achieving Massachusetts scores nationally would move us up 20 places in the math rankings, 19 in science, and 18 in reading (which would be ahead of Finland).

This is a catastrophe: the effect of being a white student in Alabama is as great as the historical legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and discrimination that African-Americans have suffered (and before people argue that Massachusetts whites are wealthier, the NAEP data are broken down by parent education and socioeconomic status, and the same pattern holds there too).



2011 State of the Future by Jerry Glenn overview of our global situation, problems, solutions, and prospects including energy, food, science and technology, ethics, development, water, organized crime, health, decision-making, gender relations, demographics, war and peace, and others are analyzed, studied, and recommendations are made.

NCLB says by 2014 all children must be "proficient" in reading and mathematics. According to professor Edmund W. Gordon, "The ability to use knowledge to engage and solve problems, not just acquire knowledge, is increasingly the currency of advanced societies. The goal should be to develop such abilities in a broader range of young people."

2013 Under President Obama: The state of our union is … dumber: How the linguistic standard of the presidential address has declined
Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test the Guardian has tracked the reading level of every state of the union.

Literacy Levels of American Adults
~ Frank Forman

We're often told that such and such a percentage have "basic" literacy, that so and so percent are "proficient," but we're rarely given the actual questions, or maybe just one or two.
I went to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy and then to the sample questions from the test. If this doesn't work try, Sample Items or just go to NAAL/ and mouse around.
Here are seven of the 96 at the site (text altered slightly to fit this web page). I am sending these to amaze you, since the actual questions are rarely publicized. The reason you'll probably be amazed is that most of us associate, except for short conversations lasting under one minute, almost entirely with those of similar literacy levels.
I'm also estimating what the rest of the world would come out.
World IQ averages about 90, so the 50th percentile for Americans (IQ 100) is the 75th percentile for the world. (I realize these are simplifications, but they'll do for now.)

FIRST QUESTION: Find which energy source will supply more power in 2000 than it did in 1971, using this table.Estimated U.S. Power Consumption by Source (Quadrilion BTUs)

Natural Gas
Nuclear Power
Total 10^12 BTU

Source: US Department of Interior United States Energy Through the Year 2000
BTU: Quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
Now if you said nuclear power, you figured out what 46% of adult Americans can't (and 71% of adults on this planet cannot either.)
[I'm just using a normal distribution table here, with world literacy approximating world intelligence, that is about 90, with Americans at 100, standard deviations are 15 throughout. This approximation is good enough here. I may be overestimating the rest of the world, to the extent their bad environment produces education worse than that in the United States.[ 1 ]

SECOND QUESTION: Fill in product quantities, numbers, and descriptions on an order form.
You wish to order the following supplies:
1 24" teak book rack
1 carton sealer and 3 packages of transparent tape
2 sets of magazine files
Use the catalog page information to complete your order form.
Have the order shipped and billed to: Dr. Janet Cook, 1436 North Elm Street, Eugene, OR 97403 (phone: (503) 603-9410).
The image is that of a typical catalog that gives a picture, a description, product number, and price. Here's the from:
Ship To:
Name _______________________________________
Address ___________________________________
City ______________________________________
State ____________________ Zip __________
Telephone No. _______________________________

Quantity/ Product Number/ Product Description/ Price Each/ Total Price
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____
etc.for several more lines.

Orders to be shipped to the U.S.A., its territories or possessions, to EACH shipping address, please add
_____________Shipping & Handling (SEE CHART)
_____________GRAND TOTAL

Orders to be shipped to the U.S.A., its territories or possessions, to EACH shipping address,

Order Total Shipping Charge
Up to $15.00 $2.45
$15.01-$25.00 $3.45
$25.01-$50.00 $4.45
$50.01-$100.00 $5.95

If you can fill out this form, you can do what 54% Americans (and 19% of the world's) adults can do, just like the last question.

THIRD QUESTION: Use the article to write a sentence that explains why the investigating committee thinks these practices are dangerous.
Panel: Sloppy work perils nuke plants
Washington Post
WASHINGTON--After investigating corruption in two of the nation's largest construction unions, the Senate Labor Committee charged Wednesday that so many incompetent welders and engineering technicians are helping build nuclear power plants it constitutes a national safety hazard.
"Unqualified workers have been routinely referred for work as skilled craftsmen, working qualification tests have been circumvented and favoritism is rampant in choosing who will work," according to a 72-page report released by the majority staff of the Senate Labor Committee.
The committee spent two years investigating the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and one year investigating the International Union of Operating Engineers.
The report concluded that "new legislation to certify workers and make test cheating and extortion a federal crime is needed to ensure the safety, proficiency and durability of . . . construction sites."
The committee said that one of the most serious practices it uncovered is the sale of union cards for as much as $1,600 to welders who never took qualifying tests.
The committee also charged that experienced welders routinely took tests for inexperienced welders, who were then put to work on jobs that included the Three Mile Island and Beaver Valley nuclear plants in Pennsylvania and the Perry, Ohio, plan near Cleveland.
The committee said that one witness testified that "60 percent of the welders he worked with on the [TMI] fuel pool [where spent radioactive uranium was kept under water] were not qualified for the union journeyman books they held and had bought their books right on the job."
Another witness said that "some of the worst work I've ever seen" was done at the TMI fuel pool. The witness said "incompetent welders" made up to 25 or 30 bad welds in the pipe used to carry radioactive fuel, the report said. The witness added that the welders covered mistakes by "washing the bad welds down with a torch to make them all look uniform."

This is a much tougher exercise. Only 20% of American (6% of world) adults could write the required one sentence. This corresponds to an IQ 0f 113.

FOURTH QUESTION: Category: Quantitative literacy.
You need to borrow $10,000. Find the ad for Home Equity Loans in the newspaper provided. Explain to the interviewer how you would compute the total amount of interest charges you would pay under this loan plan. Please tell the interviewer when you are ready to begin.


Annual Percentage Rate 14.25%
Ten Year Term

Amount Financed ___________Monthly Payment
$10,000 $156.77
$25,000 $391.93
$40,000 $627.09

120 Months 14.25% APR

This is also a tough question. 22% of adult Americans could explain to an interviewer that the way to calculate total interest charges is to multiply monthly payments by the number of months over which the loan is repaid then to subtract the amount loaned. It is not required to do the actual odoriferous business of multiplying $156.77 by 120 and subtracting $10,000, merely to state that this is what to do.

NOTE: Unfortunately, none of the questions put online were so difficult that only the "cognitive elite" (top 5% of the U.S., IQ 125, top 1.0% of the world).

FIFTH QUESTION: Fill out a deposit slip.
You wish to deposit a $300 check and $57.23 in cash in a checking account.

Fill out your deposit slip to do so.

List both deposits and indicate the total amount deposited.

Date your deposit slip May 22, 1985.


_______________ 19_______

CASH __________Dollars _________Cents
List Singly

Total Items


This is an easier question and roughly marks the underclass, or the bottom 20% of the American population. In IQ terms this means 87. Forty-two percent of the world's adults have an IQ of 87 or above.

Find out a what age the swimmer began swimming competitively.
Swimmer completes Manhattan marathon - The Associated Press
NEW YORK-- University of Maryland Senior Stacy Chanin on Wednesday became the first person to swim three 28-mile laps around Manhattan.
Chanin, 23, of Virginia, climbed out of the East River at 96th Street at 9:30 p.m. She began the swim at noon on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the swimmer, Roy Brunett, said Chanin had kept up her strength with "banana and honey sandwiches, hot chocolate, lots of water and granola bars."
Chanin has twice circled Manhattan before and trained for the new feat by swimming about 28.4 miles a week. The Yonkers native has competed as a swimmer since she was 15 and hoped to persuade Olympic authorities to add a long-distance swimming event.
The Leukemia Society of America solicited pledges for each mile she swam.
In July 1983, Julie Ridge became the first person to swim around Manhattan twice. With her three laps, Chanin came up just short of Diana Nyads distance record, set on a Florida-to-Cuba swim. SEVERAL TASKS:

If you can tell at what age Chanin became swimming competitively, you're out of the American underclass, since your at or above the 25th percentile. That's IQ 90, the exact 50th percentile of the world.

Filling out various parts of this message slip.

James Davidson phones and asks to speak with Ann Jones, who is at a meeting. He needs to know if the contracts he sent are satisfactory and requests that she call before 2:00 p.m. His number is 259-3860. Fill in the message slip below


_________________________________________ phoned

of_______________________________________ visited
Phone number ____________________________
call_____ Return your call______ Will call again ______




Taken by _________________________________

86% can write the name of the caller.
85% can write the number of the caller.
77% can write the name of the message recipient.
74% can check the "Please call" box.
61% can write the name of the message taker.
53% can write the telephone message.

REMEMBER, THESE ARE ADULTS, the end products of the educational system.


Study Finds One-Third in D.C. Illiterate Mar 19 2007
About one-third of the people living in the national's capital are functionally illiterate, compared with about one-fifth nationally, according to a report on the District of Columbia. Adults are considered functionally illiterate if they have trouble doing such things as comprehending bus schedules, reading maps and filling out job applications. The study by the State Education Agency, a quasi-governmental office created by the U.S. Department of Education to distribute federal funds for literacy services, was ordered by Mayor Anthony A. Williams in 2003 as part of his four-year, $4 million adult literacy initiative.
The growing number of Hispanic and Ethiopian immigrants who aren't proficient in English contributed to the city's high functional illiteracy level, which translated to 170,000 people, said Connie Spinner, director of the State Education Agency. The report says the district's functional illiteracy rate is 36 percent and the nation's 21 percent.
Adults age 65 and older had the lowest literacy score of any group, the report found.
The District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, which contributed to the report, said the city lost up to $107 million in taxes annually between 2000 and 2005 because of a lack of qualified job applicants.

2010 How Big Is the Lower-Literacy Population?

A ccording to the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 43% of the U.S. population has low literacy. (Literacy levels are roughly the same in other advanced countries, though slightly higher in Scandinavia.) Generally, people with lower-literacy tend to use the Internet less than people with higher-literacy. Based on the available information about Internet participation at different education levels, we estimate that 30% of Web users have low literacy. Because most of the higher-literacy population is already online, however, future growth in Internet usage will mainly come from adding lower-literacy users. Thus, in five years or so, lower-literacy users will probably be 40% of Web users.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

(1933-1942) |FINANCIAL LITERACY| The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps were in operation. The educational programs provided jobs for unemployed teachers. Standardized tests and interviews prior to entering CCC camps determined individuals' educational needs. As a result, enrollees studied a wide range of subjects at a wide range of levels. Options included "elementary subjects" (reading, arithmetic, spelling); "high school subjects" (English, history, mathematics); "college subjects" (accounting, psychology, French); "vocational courses" (forestry, photography, agriculture); "correspondence courses" (diesel engineering, mechanical drawing, civil service); and "lectures" (health and hygiene, first aid, sanitation).

One gap that CCC administrators considered critical to fill was that left by illiteracy, defined as "an inability to read a newspaper or write a simple letter" or less than three years of schooling (5).

Civilian Conservation Corps [CCC] In June 1933, the ECW decided that men in CCC camps could be given the opportunity of vocational training and additional education. Educational programs were developed that varied considerably from camp to camp, both in efficiency and results. More than 90 percent of all enrollees participated in some facet of the educational program. Throughout the CCC, more than 40,000 illiterate men were taught to read and write.

In fact the CCC did a better job with literacy than the Department of Education which should have shut them down in 1945. People realized their gov't jobs were in jeopardy so the department of education mounted a campaign to kill off the CCC and they did. Sadly for America they won the battle - we still have the incompetent department of noneducation.

60 + years later in 2009 1 in 7 Americans is illiterate, federal study finds
A new federal study finds that an estimated one in seven American adults, approximately 32 million have such low literacy skills that they would be challenged to understand a medication's side effects listed on a pill bottle. The report is based on the results of a 2003 survey that followed a 1992 survey. During that time, the country added 23 million adults to its population, an estimated 3.6 million of them with very low literacy skills. Some states, such as Mississippi, had drops in the number of functionally illiterate, to 16 percent from 25 percent in 1992. In several large states, however, such as California, New York, Florida, and Nevada, the number of adults with low skills rose. David Harvey, president and CEO of ProLiteracy, which advocates for adult literacy, says that undiagnosed learning disabilities, immigration, and high school dropouts are probable reasons for the poor literacy numbers. source


China has the same literacy problems with 56 Ethnic Tribes as the Native American's have in America.

Study traces Native Americans' ancestry March 15, 2008
NEW YORK -- Nearly all of today's Native Americans in North, Central and South America can trace part of their ancestry to six women whose descendants immigrated around 20,000 years ago, a DNA study suggests. Those women left a particular DNA legacy that persists to today in about 95 percent of Native Americans, researchers said. The finding does not mean that only these six women gave rise to the migrants who crossed into North America from Asia in the initial populating of the continent, said study co-author Ugo Perego. The women lived between 18,000 and 21,000 years ago, though not necessarily at exactly the same time, he said. The work was published this week by the journal PLoS One. Perego is from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation in Salt Lake City and the University of Pavia in Italy.

7/1/2010 Math, reading gap among Native American students
Native American students at schools overseen by the federal Bureau of Indian Education performed significantly worse on national standardized tests in reading and math compared with those in public schools. Those in public schools, and particularly those in schools where Native American students represent less than 25 percent of the population, consistently scored higher than their peers who attend schools heavily populated by Native Americans. The most stark contrast was seen among those who attend Bureau of Indian Education schools, which were created to provide quality education to Native Americans. The bureau oversees 183 schools on 64 reservations in 23 states, a majority of which are run by tribes. They educate an estimated 44,000 students — less than 10 percent of all Native American children nationwide. In reading, fourth grade students at Bureau of Indian Education schools scored an average of 181 on a 500 point scale on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — 25 points lower than Native Americans attending public schools. There was a 23 point gap among eighth grade students. Similar gaps were seen in math. Overall, Native American students are struggling, with more than a third scoring below the basic level in reading and math, according to the study. Those scores have remained basically unchanged since 2005. Kerry Venegas of the National Indian Education Association said the challenges facing Bureau of Indian Education schools are similar to those in large, urban schools — but exacerbated. On some reservations, unemployment hovers at 70 percent and graduation rates are low. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan expressed his dismay at the situation at a National Press Club luncheon in 2009, in which he described having visited a reservation in Montana where the dropout rate was as high as 65 percent. Teachers told him only one student had graduated from college in the past six years. The study also included a look at the integration of Native American culture into education. Forty-three percent of fourth grade students said their teachers did integrate Native American culture and history into class. The issue of retaining Native American culture is not lost among people like Harold Dusty Bull, 60, vice president of the National Johnson O'Malley Association, a nonprofit educational organization. He recalled how in the 1940s Native American children were sent to government boarding schools where they were stripped of their culture and language. "It started out with bad history, and I don't think it's ever really overcome it yet," he said.

2003 Adult Literacy Assessment NCES' "Literacy in Everyday Life" presents data from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the first assessment of the English literacy of adults (16 and up) in the U.S. since 1992.
Three types of literacy were measured: prose (news stories and instructional materials), document (job applications and food and drug labels), and quantitative (balancing a checkbook and figuring out a tip).
Between 1992 and 2003, there were no statistically significant changes in average prose and document literacy. However, average quantitative literacy increased. And, in a reversal from 1992, women had higher average prose and document literacy than their male peers in 2003. While men still recorded higher average quantitative literacy than women, that gap narrowed. Why does this matter? There is a clear, direct relationship between literacy and a number of future economic indicators, such as employment status, occupation, salary, and participation in public assistance programs. For example, a higher percentage of adults with high levels of literacy lived in households with incomes above $100,000. Moreover, parents at various literacy levels interact differently with children at home. For example, a higher percentage of adults with high prose literacy read to their children five or more times a week.