Volume 42 (2019)


 Adult Basic Education Research

List of contents 2019

Volume 42 of the International Yearbook of Adult Education is dedicated to Adult Basic Education Research. It is the second time that the International Yearbook focuses on this topic since the volume 20/21 in 1991/1992 addressed the topic “Literacy and Adult Basic Education in European Industrial Countries” (Knoll 1992). However, this time, the aim is to display on-going research questions, theoretical and methodological approaches as well as most recent empirical findings.


Anke Grotlüschen, Klaus Buddeberg, Gregor Dutz, Lisanne Heilmann & Christopher Stammer

Practices and Competencies – Evidence from an Adult Literacy Survey in Germany

Basic competencies like reading and writing skills are seen as the necessary fundament for independent and far-reaching social participation. The proportions of adults who only have low reading and writing skills differ from country to country. However, even in highly developed countries there are larger proportions of adults who perform low in literacy assessments. The second German literacy survey “LEO 2018” confirms this observation. About 12.1% of the German speaking adult population (aged 18-64) has remarkable difficulties in reading and writing. In comparison to the first round of the survey which was carried out in 2010 the proportion of low literate adults in Germany is declining. This contribution refers to results of the current survey, offers possible explanations for the trend between 2010 and 2018, describes the composition of the low-literate subpopulation and discusses the main predictors for low literacy. Unlike most former surveys, the LEO survey 2018 also gathered information about literacy related practices in different fields of life (finance, digital, health, and politics). Adults who have difficulties with reading and writing on average perform most literacy related practices less often.

Uwe Gartenschlaeger, Ounpheng Khammang

The Process of Adopting a Lifelong Learning Decree in Laos

In 2015, the international community adopted Lifelong Learning in the “Education 2030 Agenda” as the key concept for shaping the educations sector in the 21st century. While the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education refers to Lifelong Learning, the concept remains widely unknown in many parts of the worlds – Key stakeholders in governments are lacking understanding of its implications and of procedures to implement the concept. This article outlines how a Lifelong Learning policy was implemented in Lao PDR, one of the poorest and remotest countries in Asia by posing the following question: What was the motivation for the government to adopt this policy, which factors and actors support the growing understanding and valuing of the concept? Additionally, the article describes how policy developments can be driven in a setting of long-term mutual partnership between local stakeholders and a development partner.

Dennis Klinkhammer, Michael Schemmann

Effects of Work-Oriented Adult Basic Education Trainings: Addressing Employee’s Competencies across Sectors

The paper focuses effects of work-oriented adult basic education trainings across different sectors. As such manufacturing sector, care sector, transportation sector, personnel services as well as logistics sector are under scrutiny. It is based on a broader research project (ABAG2) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and examines the acquisition of competencies through workplace-related trainings. All in all, 50 trainings and 304 participants are considered within the study. The survey draws on a longitudinal self-assessment of the participants at the end of the respective trainings and differentiates professional competence, methodological competence, social competence and self-competence. These competencies are not only considered crucial by the European Union (2018) for the personal fulfilment, participation in the labour market and social participation, but are also based upon a continuing scientific discourse (Roth 1971; Maurer 2006; Trautwein 2011) with references to Klippert’s (1994) extended learning concept. What is more, individual preferences, satisfaction with the work situation and satisfaction with the trainings are also referred to within the survey.Next to common descriptive and bivariate analysis, the research on the effects of competencies is based on methods which are assigned to the area of robust statistics (Huber 1981). The methods of robust statistics consider the non-normally distributed response behavior which is to be anticipated in surveys on heterogeneous target groups. As a consequence, the data can be compared across sectors and highlight differences between participants. What is more, the findings of the study allow for conclusions regarding the anticipated effects of training for employees in different sectors and thus are of high relevance for employers.

Julia Koller, Carolin Radtke

Professionalisation of Teachers in Work-Oriented Basic Education: Process Orientation as a Special Competence Requirement of Teachers

The pedagogical concept of work-oriented basic education is the result of an increasing differentiation concerning the concept of basic education and adult education as a whole. This article addresses the question of context specificity in the field of work-oriented basic education. This will be discussed within the context-specifics of knowledge and skills of teachers in the field. Certain competencies, such as process orientation and the development of diverse addressee relationships, are particularly relevant in the field of work-oriented basic education, although they are closely linked to general adult education skills.

Irit Bar-Kochva, Réka Vágvölgyi, Aleksandar Bulajić

The Abilities and Deficits in Reading and Writing of Low Literate Adults

Low literacy skills in adulthood have been associated mainly with a difficulty in reading comprehension. The question arises whether the difficulty of low literate adults is restricted to the complex task of reading comprehension or whether deficits can be traced back to the more basic reading and writing skills. This question will be examined in the present article based on previously published empirical studies of that population. The available data indicate deficits of these adults not only in reading comprehension, but also in the very basic components of reading and writing such as decoding, orthographic knowledge, word recognition and spelling, in addition to deficits in reading fluency. Alongside these broad deficits, the results also indicate large variance within adults participating in basic education and literacy classes, as a considerable proportion of those adults do not exhibit extreme deficits across the different reading and writing components.