Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Time for the US to Reskill: What the Survey of Adult Skills Says

Simultaneous with the publication of the results from the Survey of Adult Skills, the OECD published a special report on the U.S. entitled, Time for the US to Reskill: What the Survey of Adult Skills Says, at the request of OVAE in the U.S. Department of Education.

The report describes the main findings of the Survey of Adult Skills for the United States and compares them with the results from a set of key comparison countries. The implications of the results – in terms of labor market outcomes, such as employment and wages, and social outcomes, such as health and citizenship, are considered. Potential explanations for the U.S. results are then assessed in relation to outcomes of basic schooling, age factors and educational attainment. Low-skilled adults are discussed in depth.

The report also assesses the policy implications of the U.S. results and tenders seven policy recommendations, namely that: concerted action is necessary to address the skills challenge; substantial improvements are needed in initial schooling, with adequate standards for all; effective learning pathways should be available for young adults after leaving high school; programs to address basic skills should be linked to employability; adult learning programs should be adapted to diverse needs and effectively coordinated with other interventions; awareness of basic skills challenges should be increased; and action should be well-supported with evidence.

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