Improving Literacy Instruction for Adults: Reading Assessments from Adult Education Learners in Kansas and Missouri, 2005-2008 (ICPSR 34887)

Published: Nov 25, 2013

Principal Investigator(s):
Daryl Mellard, University of Kansas

Version V1

The Improving Literacy Instruction for Adults study commenced in 2005 as a project of the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. Research for the project was undertaken with three aims: (1) to identify relationships among reading component skills and global literacy outcomes for adults with low literacy; (2) to design adult literacy interventions based on findings from the first aim (1); and (3) to examine the efficacy of these interventions on learner outcomes in authentic settings. This release contains descriptive datasets from the first aim; data related to the second and third aims will be made available in the future.

Initiation of the study involved the collection of reading assessments from volunteer participants at 13 adult education sites throughout Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Data were collected using a number of adult literacy evaluation methods, including but not limited to: General Educational Development (GED) tests, the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests (WRMT), the Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency (TOSWRF), the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), the Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE), the Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE), the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP), the Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT), the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Study participants also completed a background questionnaire designed to assess students' learning goals, motivations for seeking adult education classes, and any barriers or difficulties faced while pursuing adult education. Background questions also gathered demographic and personal information, including participant age, gender, ethnicity, language, education level, employment status and history, marital status, number of children, religious participation, health issues, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Mellard, Daryl. Improving Literacy Instruction for Adults: Reading Assessments from Adult Education Learners in Kansas and Missouri, 2005-2008. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-11-25.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services (1R01HD043775-01)

adult education program site

2005 -- 2008

2005 -- 2011

For additional information on the Improving Literacy Instruction for Adults project, please visit The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning Web site.

This collection contains eight datasets that can be linked through a participant ID code variable (IDCODE).

The "Study Time Periods and Time Frames" and "Collection Dates and Time Frames" fields have been filled using dates provided in the deposit form. The data do not contain participant testing dates, nor collection dates. No additional information was provided.

The data represent a stratified sample based on the six educational functional reading levels as defined by the U.S. Department of Education's National Reporting System (NRS) and determined by Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) reading diagnostic scores. From a pool of 713 volunteers at the 13 study sites, individuals rated at NRS levels 4, 5, and 6 were randomly selected, with the goal of securing 60 participants per NRS level. Due to a low number of volunteers from levels 1, 2, and 3, all eligible volunteers from these three levels were selected. A total of 319 individuals were assessed in this study. Among the 568 volunteers initially selected, 237 were no longer available or declined to participate when contacted, and data from 12 participants were eliminated due to validity concerns (e.g., statistical outliers, and participants with a cognitive disability, such as a traumatic brain injury).

Low literacy individuals aged 16 to 73 years participating in adult education programs in Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.


cognitive assessment test

paper and pencil interview (PAPI)

self-enumerated questionnaire

on-site questionnaire

Approximately 58 percent (response rate = 1-[237 declined /568 selected]).



2013-11-25 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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