Lerner has reported that American society contains large numbers of semiliterate and illiterate high school graduates. In this regard, Lisack has noted that national statistics indicate that about 13 percent of the United States adult population may be illiterate and 40 percent marginally illiterate.
The scope of the problem is provided in a study conducted by Vasu and Frazier who reported that in an employer evaluation (N=1,150 employers) of the educational skills of thousands of diverse employees, only 53.9 percent of high school graduates have were found to have adequate reading skills. Other skills were reported to be inadequate: writing (51.8 percent), math (48.2 percent), thinking (40 percent), and communications (51.2 percent).
Defining adult literacy as the possession of such skills as reading, writing, speaking, and computing necessary to function as individuals, family and community members, citizens, and consumers and workers in society, the Wisconsin State Board of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education has attributed the problem to the following factors:
(1) the public school dropout rate;
(2) the continuing immigration of persons at the functionally illiterate level;
(3) the gradual erosion of basic skills levels through lack of application; and
(4) the increasing demand for higher-level basic skills. The purpose of this paper was to examine a representative sampling of the existing literature on the problem of illiterate p