Table 1.1
Literacy — Description of proficiency levels

Table 1.1
Literacy — Description of proficiency levels
Table summary
This table displays the results of literacy — description of proficiency levels. The information is grouped by level (appearing as row headers), score range, percentage of the population aged 16 to 65 and characteristics of literacy tasks (appearing as column headers).
Level Score range Percentage of the population aged 16 to 65 Characteristics of literacy tasks
5 376-500 1% of populations across OECD and 1% in Canada can successfully perform tasks at Level 5 At this level, tasks may require the respondent to search for and integrate information across multiple, dense texts; construct syntheses of similar and contrasting ideas or points of view; or evaluate evidenced based arguments. Application and evaluation of logical and conceptual models of ideas may be required to accomplish tasks. Evaluating reliability of evidentiary sources and selecting key information is frequently a key requirement. Tasks often require respondents to be aware of subtle, rhetorical cues and to make high-level inferences or use specialized background knowledge.
4 326-375 12% of populations across OECD and 14% in Canada can successfully perform tasks at least at Level 4

Adults scoring at Level 4:
11% OECD
13% Canada
Tasks at this level often require respondents to perform multiple-step operations to integrate, interpret, or synthesize information from complex or lengthy continuous, non-continuous, mixed, or multiple type texts. Complex inferences and application of background knowledge may be needed to perform successfully. Many tasks require identifying and understanding one or more specific, non-central ideas in the text in order to interpret or evaluate subtle evidence-claim or persuasive discourse relationships. Conditional information is frequently present in tasks at this level and must be taken into consideration by the respondent. Competing information is present and sometimes seemingly as prominent as correct information.
3 276-325 51% of populations across OECD and 51% in Canada can successfully perform tasks at least at Level 3

Adults scoring at Level 3:
39% OECD
38% Canada
Texts at this level are often dense or lengthy, and include continuous, non-continuous, mixed, or multiple pages of text. Understanding text and rhetorical structures become more central to successfully completing tasks, especially navigating of complex digital texts. Tasks require the respondent to identify, interpret, or evaluate one or more pieces of information, and often require varying levels of inference. Many tasks require the respondent to construct meaning across larger chunks of text or perform multi-step operations in order to identify and formulate responses. Often tasks also demand that the respondent disregard irrelevant or inappropriate content to answer accurately. Competing information is often present, but it is not more prominent than the correct information.
2 226-275 85% of populations across OECD and 83% in Canada can successfully perform tasks at least at Level 2

Adults scoring at Level 2:
34% OECD
32% Canada
At this level the medium of texts may be digital or printed, and texts may comprise continuous, non-continuous, or mixed types. Tasks in this level require respondents to make matches between the text and information, and may require paraphrasing or low-level inferences. Some competing pieces of information may be present. Some tasks require the respondent to:

• cycle through or integrate two or more pieces of information based on criteria
• compare and contrast or reason about information requested in the question
• navigate within digital texts to access and identify information from various parts of a document.
1 176-225 97% of populations across OECD and 96% in Canada can successfully perform tasks at least at Level 1

Adults scoring at Level 1:
12% OECD
13% Canada
Most of the tasks at this level require the respondent to read relatively short digital or print continuous, non-continuous, or mixed texts to locate a single piece of information that is identical to or synonymous with the information given in the question or directive. Some tasks, such as those involving non-continuous texts, may require the respondent to enter personal information onto a document. Little, if any, competing information is present. Some tasks may require simple cycling through more than one piece of information. Knowledge and skill in recognizing basic vocabulary, determining the meaning of sentences, and reading paragraphs of text is expected.
Below 1 0-175 Adults scoring below Level 1:
3% OECD
4% Canada
The tasks at this level require the respondent to read brief texts on familiar topics to locate a single piece of specific information. There is seldom any competing information in the text and the requested information is identical in form to information in the question or directive. The respondent may be required to locate information in short continuous texts. However, in this case, the information can be located as if the text were non-continuous in format. Only basic vocabulary knowledge is required, and the reader is not required to understand the structure of sentences or paragraphs or make use of other text features. Tasks below Level 1 do not make use of any features specific to digital texts.
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