NCER announces FY 2016 Awards

The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) just announced a new round of grants under the National Center for Education Research grants program. One of them (just one!), led by John Sabatini at the Educational Testing Service (ETS), has an explicit adult literacy focus:

Developing and Validating Web-administered, Reading for Understanding Assessments for Adult Education 

A large percent of U.S. adults struggle to read even basic texts, but there are few valid assessments for this population, making it difficult to measure learning outcomes or improve instruction. The purpose of this project is to develop a digital assessment appropriate for such adults, in particular those reading between the 3rd- to 8th-grade levels. Such an assessment will not only help to determine an adult reader’s strengths and weaknesses but also inform instruction and improve programs and institutional accountability.

The goal is to produce a fully developed and validated, digital assessment for adults reading between the 3rd- to 8th-grade levels.

These other projects may also be of interest:

See: NCER announces FY 2016 Awards

Does PIAAC Make Accurate Assumptions About Future Skill Needs?

ETS released a new report used the PIAAC data to compare U.S. millennials with millennials in other wealthy countries. Coverage of the study in The Atlantic included an interesting overall critique of PIAAC from Tom Loveless of The Brookings Institution:

…Loveless, an education scholar with The Brookings Institution, said that while the PIAAC results aren’t surprising, the maker of the assessment “is unabashed about its ambitions in this regard … [it] believes it’s measuring skills that matter in the 21st century. Put me in the ‘I’m skeptical of that claim’ group.”

…[He] says that, empirically speaking, the PIAAC results don’t match up with existing data about the U.S. economy’s performance. But a bigger qualm Loveless has is the assumptions that the adult-competencies assessment makes about the skills workers will need going forward. “Let’s say I was alive in 1915 and I gave a test that predicted the job skills and future economic productivity of nations,” he said. “I just don’t see how anyone in 1915 could have foreseen the skills that would have been important for the rest of the 20th century, and I doubt that anyone’s doing that now for the 21st century.”