Literacy and Numeracy Skills – Test Design, Implementation, Scaling and Statistical Models for Proficiency Estimation

Faculty/Professorship: Empirical Microeconomics  
Author(s): Wölfel, Oliver; Yamamoto, Kentaro; Kleinert, Corinna  ; Gilberg, Reiner
Volume Number/Title: Working and Learning in a Changing World ; VI
Corporate Body: Research Data Centre (FDZ)
Publisher Information: Nürnberg
Year of publication: 2012
Pages: 40 ; Diagramme
Series ; Volume: FDZ-Methodenreport : Methodological aspects of labour market data ; 10
Language(s): English
This report describes the skills tests conducted in the face-to-face (PAPI) interview of the IAB
study “Working and Learning in a Changing World” (ALWA). These tests focused on measuring
cognitive skills in two domains, prose literacy and numeracy. The major goal of the ALWA
study, for which the pilot was conducted in 2006/07 and the main survey in 2007/08, was to
provide a database for statistical analyses on the relationships among cognitive competencies,
educational credentials, and employment and working lives in longitudinal perspective.
In the skills tests measurement constructs and items from both the International Adult Literacy
Survey (IALS, 1994-1999) and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey (ALL, 2003-2008)
were used. Scaling methods were modeled as well after those used for IALS and ALL
(Yamamoto 1998, Yamamoto & Kirsch 1998). This report has two major goals. First, it describes
the design and implementation of the skills tests in the ALWA study. Second, the
scaling model used for describing the test results is explained, empirical results of scaling the
ALWA skills data are presented, and practical advice how to work with the delivered data (in
the form of plausible values and weights) is given to those users how are no specialists in
handling IRT (Item Response Theory) models.
Type: Workingpaper
Year of publication: 2. August 2013