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Technical Note for Scotland Performs Indicators and Targets – National Indicator 12

This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

Scotland Performs national Indicator 12 - Reduce number of working age people with severe literacy and numeracy problems

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Title

Working age people with severe literacy and numeracy problems.

Associated Targets

Reduction in working age people with severe literacy and numeracy problems.

Brief Description

This indicator is measured using a proxy - of proportion of adults aged 16-64 with low or no qualifications (SCQF level 4 or below).

Strategic Objective(s) to Which Indicator Relates

This indicator informs progress in relation to the following Strategic Objectives:

Smarter - Fewer people with literacy and/or numeracy problems will lead to a smarter and potentially more confident adults aged 16-64.

Wealthier and Fairer - Improving individuals literacy and numeracy problems will increase the employability skills of those individuals both in and out of work. Poor literacy skills can also be a barrier to accessing services and opportunities and so addressing this can help make society Fairer.

More Detailed Definitions

Definitions of Keywords

The proxy indicator for this National Indicator measures the proportion of adults aged 16-64 with qualifications of SCQF level 4 or below.

Although the official source for information on adult literacies skills is the 2009 Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies (SSAL), results are not available annually so the proxy measure is used to monitor progress on Scotland Performs.

There are differences between SSAL and the APS proxy measure. SSAL formally assesses literacy skills through a series of literacy tasks which generate information about the capabilities of the population. The tasks measured literacy on three scales- Prose, Document and Quantitative - and individuals were scored on the tasks and then grouped into five levels, with level 1 the lowest ability range and level 5 the highest.

The APS does not formally assess literacy skills. As it is not possible to estimate the number of people with severe literacy and numeracy problems without formal testing, a proxy measured was used. This measures adults with low or no qualifications (SCQF level 4 or below).

The Adult Literacy and Numeracy strategy currently works with adults who are at SCQF level 4 or below. The population of interest is people aged 16-64. It is recognised that people who are over 64 years old will have issues around literacy and numeracy which also need to be addressed, however to maximise the link between the indicator and the Government's strategic outcomes this particular indicator should focus on the population aged 16-64.

Evidence Source

A proxy indicator is currently used to update on progress. This proxy uses the Annual Population Survey (APS) which is published by the Office for National Statistics. This proxy shows the proportion of adults aged 16-64 with qualifications of SCQF Level 4 or below.

Baseline and Past Trends

In terms of the proxy indicator, 16.4% of adults aged 16-64 had qualifications of SCQF Level 4 or below in 2007 (January-December 2007).

Methodology for Data Source

The measurement will be based on an estimate of the number of people who have low or no qualifications (SCQF Level 4 or below).

The current confidence interval around the 2009 estimate from the APS is ±0.4%.

Data Ownership and Quality Assurance

The Annual Population Survey, from which the proxy indicator is drawn, is a National Statistics Publication.

Publication of Data

Results from the Annual Population Survey are published on the Scottish Government website -within the Local Area Labour Markets (Statistics from the Annual Population Survey) publication.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/07/29103916/0

Results from the Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies are published on the Scottish Government website.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/SSAL2009Report_Of_Findings

Methodology for Recent Change Arrow on Scotland

This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 0.7 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 0.7 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 0.7 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening. The threshold of 0.7 percentage points chosen is based on an assessment of the data available at this time, and may need to be reviewed as more information becomes available in the future.

Future issues or reviews

1. The official source for information on adult literacies is the 2009 Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies. However given that results are not available on an annual basis, a proxy indicator from the APS (proportion of adults aged 16-64 with qualifications of SCQF Level 4 or below) is required to monitor progress.

2. Prior to June 2011, the proxy indicator was based on the traditional working-age population, defined as males aged 16-64 and females aged 16-59.

In June 2011, the proxy indicator was revised to be based on the definition for the new headline employment rate which covers the population aged 16 to 64 for both men and women. This new definition has been applied to the back series to ensure consistent comparisons.

This change was implemented as the female state pension age is now gradually increasing from 60 to 65, over a ten year period from April 2010 to 2020. As a result, the headline employment rates as published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are now based on the population aged 16 to 64 for both men and women.

The change to the definition was made in June 2011, as the January to December 2010 APS dataset was released at this time, and the female state pension age started to change from April 2010.



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