ETS Policy Notes — The Literacy of Job Seekers

ETS Policy Information Center
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Literacy assessment labor market demographics educational achievement literacy scales ethnicity gender literacy proficiency


This issue of ETS Policy Notes (Volume 5, No. 1) provides an overview of the workplace literacy of job seekers in the United States based on the results of a large-scale literacy assessment that ETS conducted for the U.S. Department of Labor in the winter and spring of 1990. The assessment involved a representative sample of 20 million job seekers — those who had registered for unemployment insurance, applied for a job at the United States Employment Service, or enrolled in a program under the Job Training Partnership Act. The assessment measured literacy on three scales: prose, document, and quantitative. In addition, the study administered a questionnaire to those being assessed that asked for their demographic information, family background characteristics, level of education experience, and employment history.


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