Reports & Data
Based on these three surveys, this page provides answers to the following three questions:
Document: The ability to find and use information in forms, charts, graphs and other tables.
Prose: The knowledge and skills required to understand and appropriately use information from print materials.
Numeracy: The ability to use basic math skills in everyday life.
Problem-solving:* The ability to think and act in situations for which no routine solution procedure is available.
(*Note: While the problem-solving abilities of Canadians were tested in the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS)—along with their document literacy, prose literacy and numeracy—CCL’s literacy assessments do not measure this ability.)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines five levels of literacy, with level 3 as the internationally accepted level of literacy considered necessary for meeting the demands of everyday life and work in an information -based society. Results from these surveys are analyzed according to these literacy levels.
Level 1—Very poor literacy skills
An individual at this level may, for example, be unable to determine from a package label the correct amount of medicine to give a child.
Level 2—A capacity to deal only with simple, clear material involving uncomplicated tasks
People at this level may develop everyday coping skills, but their poor literacy skills make it hard to conquer challenges such as learning new job skills.
Level 3—Adequate to cope with the demands of everyday life and work in an advanced society
This roughly denotes the skill level required for successful high school completion and college entry.
Levels 4 and 5 —Strong skills
Individuals at these levels can process information of a complex and demanding nature.
People who are more literate are more likely to be employed, and those with jobs tend to earn more money. The table below shows the expected unemployment rate and income for each level of prose literacy.
Source: Statistics Canada/OECD’s IALSS 2003