Aboriginal Adult Literacy Assessment Tool – (AALAT)

AALAT Launch May 2011

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“We hope the communities can take these numbers and start creating an effective grassroots community plan rather than adopting best practices from outside the community,” said Robert Henry. Read more here: Saskatchewan Sage article

Aboriginal Adult Literacy Assessment Tool

Why do we need to assess  literacy?

Canada  is ever-changing and adapting to meet the knowledge skill needs that it has set  forth for Canadians at both the local and global contexts. Literacy is a skill  that is needed for all people of Canada to contribute and be a part of the work  and decision-making processes in Canada. At a local level literacy allows  individuals to communicate, share knowledge, and participate in daily  activities which require an ability to read, write, use math, problem solve,  and other skills in order to connect to one’s environment.

What does AALAT assess?

AALAT  is a unique assessment tool in that it incorporates a culturally and  linguistically relevant context for assessing work place literacy skill  development, as well as linking literacy to community and societal values and  activities. From understanding written text, to listening abilities, to solving  problems relevant to those found in the community, AALAT will offer Aboriginal  communities a broader understanding of the literacy skills of its community  members, as well as their personal triumphs and barriers that they have faced  in regards to their literacy journey.

Who is the target audience?

The  tool is designed to assess the literacy strengths of adults aged 16-65 is  because this was the age range assessed in the International Adult Literacy and  Skills Survey (IALSS, 2003). The IALSS survey determined that 63% of Aboriginal  adults residing in Saskatchewan urban centres did not have the literacy skills  necessary to positively contribute to the Canadian workforce. We have created  AALAT to further analyze and broaden these statistics. A second reason is that  this is the primary age of individuals who are participating in the economic  workforce, and Aboriginal adults need to have the literacy skills to compete,  maintain, and excel in the workforce to sustain themselves, family, and  community.

How is AALAT to be  administered?

AALAT  is to be administered by a trained tester in a one-to-one environment, where  the participant feels comfortable. One reason is that tests and assessments  cause anxiety and unnecessary stress for individuals which can then lead to  negative results in the assessment results. The second reason is for the  comfort of being able to ask for clarification of a question in a nonintrusive  environment. By conducting the assessment in a one-to-one manner, relationships  can be built between the facilitator and participants. With the individual  assessment, we are also conducting community and Elder consultations, in  piloted communities, to gain an insight as to literacy and numeracy specific to  the community, as well as to answer any questions or concerns that the  community may have with AALAT.

What does AALAT look like?

The  assessment tool is based into two parts that will be administered at the same  time. The General Information section of the tool focuses on the individual and  allows them to have the chance to explain their ideas and personal insights and  perceptions of literacy, numeracy, and oracy. The second section is the test  questions which will then determine the strengths of participant in the five  areas of reading, writing, numeracy, listening, and problem solving. The  section on a participant’s listening skills is unique because the spoken  messages will be in both video and audio, from different Elders and  storytellers in the province representing the different Aboriginal linguistic  groups in Saskatchewan. Because many communities have their own distinct and  unique linguistic accents, individuals will have an opportunity to have  listening items that reflect these linguistic variances.

Ross Grandel,  Projects Administrator
Cell: (306) 370-2606
Other contact info


The AALAT Pilot Project was  funded in part by the Government of Canada`s Adult Learning, Literacy and  Essential Skills Program

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