NYT reported The average American college graduate's literacy in English declined significantly over the past decade, according to results of a nationwide test released yesterday.
If they are not literate, what the heck are they doing in college? They are supposed to read and write in elementary school. They should be improving those skills in Middle and High School.The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, given in 2003 by the Department of Education, is the nation's most important test of how well adult Americans can read. The test also found steep declines in the English literacy of Hispanics in the United States, and significant increases among blacks and Asians.
When the test was last administered, in 1992, 40 percent of the nation's college graduates scored at the proficient level, meaning that they were able to read lengthy, complex English texts and draw complicated inferences. But on the 2003 test, only 31 percent of the graduates demonstrated those high-level skills. There were 26.4 million college graduates. The college graduates who in 2003 failed to demonstrate proficiency included 53 percent who scored at the intermediate level and 14 percent who scored at the basic level, meaning they could read and understand short, commonplace prose texts. Three percent of college graduates who took the test in 2003, representing some 800,000 Americans, demonstrated "below basic" literacy, meaning that they could not perform more than the simplest skills, like locating easily identifiable information in short prose.