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UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP) . Literacy and EFA. Literacy and EFA. Goal 4: ‘Achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults’

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Literacy assessment and monitoring programme lamp l.jpg

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP)

Literacy and efa l.jpg

Literacy and EFA

Literacy and EFA

  • Goal 4: ‘Achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults’

  • Goal 6: ‘…ensuring… learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills’

  • Goal 3: ‘Ensuring that the learning needs… are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes’

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Current data

Data available

  • Data source for EFA monitoring: countries via UIS and UN Statistical Division (UN Population Division for population figures)

  • Definition: “the ability to read and write, with understanding, a short simple sentence about one’s daily life”

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Current data

Data quality

  • What is really collected: self-report, educational attainment (in various ways)

  • Limited value within country, and no comparability

  • Data gaps: years, countries, factors

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Current data


  • Algeria (1998): an illiterate is a person who never attended an educational establishment

  • Brazil (1998): an illiterate is a person who says that they do not know how to read and write or learnt how to read and write but forgot or only knows how to sign their name

  • More than 1 in 5 countries with no data since 1975; and more than 2 in 5 since 1985

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Current data

Example (WB)

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Description of LAMP

Overall aim of LAMP

“to improve the quality of literacy data, especially at national level but also for international policy development and monitoring, and for the design of improved literacy programmes”

Montreal, January 2003

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Description of LAMP

Three objectives

  • Develop a methodology for assessing literacy in developing countries

  • Provide literacy datato inform the participating countries’ policy-making and literacy programme design, and to help international monitoring and policy-making;

    Literacy distribution at national and international levels; Estimates by eg age, gender, education, influence of other factors; Estimates for years with no assessment

  • Build statistical capacity in the areas of surveys and of literacy assessment

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Description of LAMP

Main features

  • Assessment – adapt IALS methodology

  • Continuum/levels

  • Reading, writing, numeracy

  • Survey

  • Adults (15+?)

  • Pilot in/by 4 or 5 countries

  • In partnership with countries

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Description of LAMP

Example of a task

1. What is the maximum number of days you should take this medicine?

2. List three situations for which you should consult a doctor.

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Description of LAMP

Interview process

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Description of LAMP

Survey questionnaire

Indicative list of topics:

  • Educational background (incl. FE, NFE)

  • Use of literacy

  • Social context

  • Economic context

  • Literate environment

  • Perceived abilities and needs

  • Languages used

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Description of LAMP


  • National Project Teams

  • Ministers

  • Local and regional organisations

  • Technical specialists

  • ‘Experts’ and ‘reviewers’

  • International organisations

  • UIS

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Concept paper


Capacity building

Description of LAMP

Main project activities

Launching meeting

Def & conceptual framework

Assessment methodology; software

Sampling & estimation method

Review experiences

Analytical plan

Design tests & survey instruments; country adaptation; manuals

Field work



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Progress to date

Proposed definition

“Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society.”

ED/BAS/LIT - UIE - expert meeting

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Progress to date

Proposed components

  • Listening comprehension (in the language of assessment)

  • Recognition of grapheme (letter or other depending on the writing system)

  • Word recognition

  • Sentence reading

  • Passage reading

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Progress to date

Proposed components (cont.)

  • Accuracy, understanding, speed

  • Aim for comparability in construct - not always possible to ensure equivalence of the tests at the lowest levels

  • For reading, writing, and numeracy

  • Eg word - speed: read aloud a series of words appearing one after the other, or a list…

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Progress to date


  • Concept paper

  • Literature review

  • Use of technology

  • Database of questions built for reference

  • Analytical plan

  • Investigating model-based estimation methods

  • Countries (Mongolia, Morocco, Niger, Jamaica)

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Progress to date


  • USD 1 million required for development and support to 4 countries

  • UK via DFID (core funding)

  • EFA extra-budgetary

  • WB assistance with meeting

  • Non-financial assistance (eg reviewers, IRA)

  • Still require USD 700,000 funding

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Progress to date

Issues LAMP is addressing

  • Adapt items to context (linguistic, socio-cultural)

  • Methodology details especially re components; re higher levels adaptation of IALS

  • In what languages?

  • Length of interviews

  • National ownership; appropriation of know-how

  • Availability and quality of population data

  • Defining categories

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ConclusionLAMP and EFA / UNLD

  • Presentation: concept of continuum, new figures much lower (affects trend analyses in particular)

  • Reduce a data gap

  • Focus attention, stimulate reflections

  • Lead to improvements in literacy interventions

  • Increased capacity to measure literacy goals and related matters