Literacy and Development: Rationales, Assessment, and Innovation

Wagner, Daniel
Date of publication: 
Thu, 1995-06-01

Literacy and economic development have existed as terms that are
inextricably linked in the literature, often with little examination. As one
looks more closely at the rationales for this relationship, it becomes clear
that much more needs to be known about the functions and uses of literacy
in everyday life, how literacy is linked to productive activity, and how
literacy is learned (and taught) across the life-span. In order to achieve both
understanding and improved literacy programming, it is crucial that better
methods of assessment and program evaluation be put into place. This paper
reviews prior experience in assessment, with special attention to the use of
literacy surveys, as well as some of the problems with international literacy
statistics. The paper concludes with a discussion of innovations in literacy
and policy alternatives in the year 2000 and beyond.