Just 2% of adults globally perform at the top literacy level
Read it and weep: After decades of reporting five levels of literacy, the largest adult literacy study in the world has dropped Level 5, the top level, for lack of participation.
The reason: Just 2 percent of adults worldwide performed at Level 5, so researchers combined it with Level 4 in their most recent report.
Welcome to the world of literacy today, according to the 2013 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, or PIAAC.
PIAAC is an enormous, every-10-year study of adult literacy, developed and organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The study seeks to determine how well adults are prepared to function in today’s society.
How are we doing?
How did these adults fare?
“Across all countries, only 2 percent of adults performed at Level 5 [the top level] on many of the variables in the literacy and numeracy scales,” researchers report.
So how can you reach readers in this environment? Make messages easier to read.
Write for Readability
If you write at the 11th grade level, 97% or more of U.S. adults won’t be able to understand your copy, according to the Department of Education’s latest adult literacy test.
So: Are you smart enough to write for a 5th grader?
At Cut Through the Clutter — our tight-writing Master Class on May 11-12 in Chicago — you’ll learn how to write easy-to-read messages that get more people to read your piece, read more of it, read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Save up to 40% of the cost of business communications by making them easier to read. (FedEx, for instance, saved $400,000 a year by rewriting operations manuals.)
- Increase reading by up to 75% by making one simple change to your copy.
- Use a cool tool (it’s free!) to measurably improve readability.
- Analyze your copy for 34 readability metrics — and leave with quantifiable targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.
- Measure, monitor, manage and report readability — your No. 1 tool for making your messages more effective.