Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
Recent estimates from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) indicated that approximately 36 million U.S. adults had literacy and numeracy skills below basic levels, ranging from those who were non-literate to those who could perform only simple, concrete literacy tasks.
To expand knowledge about the instructional approaches that can assist these adults, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institute for Literacy funded a network of adult literacy researchers to conduct rigorous adult reading research.
Abt Associates and its partner, the University of Delaware, collaborated on developing an adult decoding and spelling curriculum – led by the University of Delaware. They also worked on a subsequent experimental study – led by Abt – about the effectiveness of the curriculum. Sixteen adult basic education programs in 12 states were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Data collection included testing and interviewing 561 adult learners, observing and interviewing 38 reading instructors, and interviewing staff from 23 adult basic education programs. The study’s results have been reported in three journal articles, and the Making Sense of Decoding and Spelling curriculum is available through the U.S. Department of Education’s LINCS portal.
Read more about the study:
Effects of a Structured Decoding Curriculum on Adult Literacy Learners’ Reading Development, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.
Subgroups of Adult Basic Education Learners with Different Profiles of Reading Skills, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Reading Component Skills of Learners in Adult Basic Education, Journal of Learning Disabilities.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.