The Outcomes and Impacts of Adult Literacy Education in the United States

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This study investigated the outcomes and impacts of adult literacy education through a qualitative assessment of the outcomes and impacts research conducted since the late 1960s. Outcomes are the changes in learners that occur as a result of their participation in adult literacy education. Impacts are the changes that occur in the family, community, and larger society as a consequence of participation.

The goals of the study were to make reasoned inferences about the effectiveness of adult literacy education in the United States; to identify common conceptual, design, and methodological problems inherent in the outcome studies conducted; to raise and discuss issues for policy; and to make recommendations for the design and conduct of future outcomes studies.


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