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Title: Adult basic skills in Great Britain : evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study at age 34
Author: Parsons, Samantha
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 9013
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of this research was to improve understanding of the disadvantage and exclusion experienced over the life course by a significant minority of the British adult population who have poor basic skills. This was achieved by: a) The development of an assessment tool that accurately assessed basic skills b) Providing evidence regarding the prevalence, antecedents and consequences of basic skill problems in Great Britain, and c) Identifying potential policy levers to improve the British skill base. By relating the levels of basic skills to current government standards in a representative sample of the British general population, the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), the research makes an important and original contribution to the knowledge base. Findings suggest that 8% of adults had a very poor (Entry Level) grasp of literacy and 40% Entry Level numeracy skills. Those with Entry Level skills in either literacy or numeracy had a relatively disadvantaged home life in childhood, both economically and in terms of education levels and educational support offered by parents. In adult life, Entry Level skills were associated with a lack of qualifications, poor labour market experience and prospects, poor material and financial circumstances, poor health and a reduced level of social and political participation. Furthermore, the link between poor basic skills and use of computers, symptoms associated with dyslexia, and the intergenerational transmission of poor skills has highlighted some important potential levers for policy makers. As such, it is hoped that the findings from this life course research will be used to make a real contribution at the ground level.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available