U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210

CLASSIFICATION

JTPA/ES

CORRESPONDENCE SYMBOL

TEES

ISSUE DATE

Nov. 18, 1993

RESCISSIONS

None

EXPIRATION DATE

Continuing

DIRECTIVE : TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION NOTICE NO. 24-93
 
TO : ALL STATE JTPA LIAISONS
ALL STATE WAGNER-PEYSER ADMINISTERING AGENCIES
ALL STATE WORKER ADJUSTMENT LIAISONS
 
FROM : BARBARA ANN FARMER
Administrator
for Regional Management
 
SUBJECT : Workplace Literacy Test Implementation Pilot Project

  1. Purpose. To invite participation in a Workplace Literacy Test (WLT) Implementation Pilot Project.

  2. Reference. Training and Employment Information

    Notice (TEIN) No. 58-85 and Beyond the School Doors: The Literacy Needs of Job Seekers Served by the U.S. Department of Labor, by Kirsch, I.S., Jungeblut, A. & Campbell A. (1992).

  3. Background. Recognizing the importance of literacy skills in the workplace, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is sponsoring a series of initiatives to address the literacy needs of ETA program clients. These literacy initiatives are built on an earlier effort to report literacy levels of Americans such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

    Under contract with ETA, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) designed and conducted the DOL Workplace Literacy Survey of the JTPA and ES/UI populations. Building on this survey, ETS developed the WLT.

  4. Description of Workplace Literacy Test. The WLT is an assessment instrument that measures three dimensions of literacy: prose comprehension, the ability to read and understand prose; document literacy, the ability to use information found in documents; and quantitative literacy, the ability to set up and solve problems using quantitative information. The assessment items are built on tasks that adults frequently encounter in their daily lives. In addition, the test items making up this

    assessment were developed in a manner that was faithful to a logical cognitive model that attempts to define how adults approach and perform these types of tasks.

  5. Pilot Project Objectives and Description. The purposes of the WLT Implementation Pilot Project are to: 1) inform ETA programs about the WLT, 2) determine the validity of WLT procedures, 3) develop procedure manuals, 4) establish a standardized scoring system, and 5) obtain information to determine whether the WLT can be used for the following purposes:

    Approximately eighty sites will be included in the pilot project. (Sites to be selected will include SESA local offices, State JTPA and EDWAA programs and projects.) As soon as sites are obtained ETS will schedule a one-day training session in each of the ten DOL Regions. ETS will supply sites with test booklets, score the test, and provide score reports at no charge to the sites.

    Participant responsibilities include: 1) administering the WLT test to 100-300 individuals during the next year, 2) keeping the test instruments secure, 3) returning completed tests for scoring. Each of these responsibilities will be described in more detail by ETS at the training sessions.

  6. Use of the WLT. The WLT can be used to meet federal requirements for reporting the literacy levels of JTPA clients. According to the Standardized Program Information Report instructions, DOL will consider either grade level or raw scores from such tests as the WLT to be in compliance with reporting requirements.

  7. Limitations of the WLT. The WLT test resultscannot be used for hiring or promotional purposes, nor for counseling or training individuals in literacy level requirements for specific occupations.

  8. Action. States are requested to provide this information to appropriate JTPA, EDWAA, or SESA entities and request that interested parties contact Jules Goodison, ETS Co-project Director by December 10, 1993, at 1-800-223-0267 or by telefacsimile (609) 734-1878.

  9. Inquiries. Questions may be directed to Jules Goodison at the above numbers or to project contact, Mamoru Ishikawa, ETA, on (202) 219-5472.