About Us

Board of Directors

NCAL Publications

E-News Issues

Blog Point of View

Links & Other Resources




Public Service LINK
to CAAL Publications -
Council for Advancement
of Adult Literacy





This page will grow as NCAL grows.  For continuity, we are posting here the last few publications from CAAL.  NCAL research papers and policy briefs will gradually be available here, along with talks and essays by officers, staff, and board members, and communications with federal and state legislative officials and other thought leaders and policymakers.

Legislative Communications

ADULT EDUCATION FACTS THAT DEMAND PRIORITY ATTENTION, Dec. 5, 2015 -- This two-page document contains facts and figures that show the dimensions and depth of low basic skills in the U.S. The resource may be of use to the field in communicating with their state and federal legislators and others.

12 COMMENTS FOR OCTAE ON WIOA REGULATIONS & GUIDELINES, May 25, 2015 – Comments and suggestions from the National Council for Adult Learning in response to the Department of Education’s invitation for input into Docket item ED-2015-OCTAE-0003, the Department's draft guidelines for implementation of WIOA.

Research Papers & Policy Briefs

IDEAS TO ACTION: Creating a Comprehensive Adult Education Professional Development & Learning System. This short paper was written by Dr. Mary Ann Corley, recently retired as principal researcher from the American Institutes for Research. It is a wrap-up and synthesis of several articles and discussions over the past year in which Adult Education professional development needs are considered. As noted in the Foreword, the paper “aims to generate greater understanding of what professional development is and why it needs to be a high priority on state and national agendas.” It also provides several action recommendations including establishment of a new training alliance for professional development. (Aug. 4, 2016)

INVITATION TO A ROUNDTABLE: A Discussion of Return on Investment in Adult Education. This paper, a companion report to the report below, was written by James Parker and Gail Spangenberg, with substantial input from a panel of state and national leaders. The main part of the report, 23 pages, gives a close-up look at the actual content of a day of Roundtable conversation about Return-on-Investment. Author bios are in Appendix I. Panel participants are listed in Appendix II. An annotated resource listing (Appendix III) supplements the resource listing of OT15. A lengthy Appendix IV contains ROI data from Arkansas and the slide-set presentation used by the PIAAC team in their presentation to the panel. (March 17, 2014)

STEPPING UP TO ROI IN ADULT EDUCATION: A Survey of State Activities, by James Parker and Gail Spangenberg, is a companion paper to Invitation to a Roundtable (above).  It reports on the findings of a national survey carried out between February and June 2013 in which state adult education directors or their designates were asked to respond to a series of questions about the nature and extent of their Return-on-Investment activity. A major annotated resource listing is included as Appendix IV. (September 2013, 55 pp.)

LABOR MARKET EXPERIENCES, EARNINGS, INCOME INADEQUACY PROBLEMS, AND CIVIL BEHAVIOR OF U.S. ADULTS BY EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT: Consequences for Adult Education Programs, prepared February 2014 for the Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy by the Center for Labor Market Studies of Northeastern University. This 22-page paper, by Ishwar Khatiwada, Andrew Sum, and Sheila Palma is an update of information on the social and workforce variables treated in 2008 in Reach Higher, America, the final report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy. It is a companion paper to Net Annual Fiscal Contributions listed just below.

NET ANNUAL FISCAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF U.S. ADULTS AGED 18-64 BY EDUCATION ATTAINMENT, 2009-2012. This paper, prepared in January 2014 for the Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy by the Center for Labor Market Studies of Northeastern University, provides analysis of the fiscal gains to the nation and to individuals of high school and college graduation in America for adults aged 18-64.  It also presents aggregated and state-by-state data for 15 states: CA, CO, FL, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, TX, and VA. The paper updates data presented in Reach Higher, America, the report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy.

Talks & Essays

The Future of the Library: From electric media to digital media (published online by UNESCO, May 13 2017) — a review by Gail Spangenberg, Contributing Editor to the UNESCO Lifelong Learning Institute, to be published in the International Review of Education, Journal of Lifelong Learning, Springer, fall 2017 (from link.springer.com). The Future of the Library, by Robert K. Logan with Marshall McLuhan, is an updated version of a text begun by Logan and McLuhan dating back to the 1980s. The original work tracks and analyzes the history and changing role of the public library down through the 1990s and the emergence of the electric media. That material has finally been published as a book with the material updated to account for the subsequent impact of the digital media. It is must reading for students of the library sciences, and for educators, community developers, and anyone else who should know why libraries are so vital in civilized society, including those in a position to influence funding and public policy.

NCAL PD Blog Announcement (June 13, 2016) — This communication announces the release of a new NCAL blog on Adult Education professional development, inspired and developed by Mary Ann Corley and attendees at the 2016 annual conference of COABE, the Commission on Adult Basic Education.

The Cost of Not Educating the World's Poor: The New Economics of Learning (March 29, 2016) -- a review by Gail Spangenberg, Contributing Editor to the UNESCO Lifelong Learning Institute, published online by the International Review of Education and soon to appear in the IRE Journal. The book is by Lynn Ilon of Seoul National University. It analyzes the implications of increased technology worldwide, especially computers, for the nature of education and learning, and considers how we have shifted from a production economy to a knowledge economy. It calls for provision of education for all -- including the most disadvantaged and lowest skilled people -- through government and institutional policy and examines the cost of not doing so. The book's core theme is that everybody is part of everybody else's world today, and everyone stands to benefit from universal education.

LEARNING CARE LESSONS: Literacy, love, care, and solidarity by Maggie Feeley (March 2, 2015) -- a 3-page review by Gail Spangenberg, printed online by the UNESCO Lifelong Learning Institute. It is authorized for distribution here in "pre-typeset format." The book is 3-year study of adults in Ireland with unmet literacy needs who throughout childhood were victims of extreme abuse and lack of caring at the hands of the church-managed Industrial Schools. The book gives guidance on designing programs to meet the needs of such adults. It focuses on affective barriers to adult learning, and is relevant for program design and professional development purposes anywhere where the goal is to serve low-skilled adult learners. It may be accessed online or in hard copy by subscription to the Journal of Lifelong Learning, International Review of Education at http://rd.springer.com/journal/11159

REMARKS BY GAIL SPANGENBERG, PIAAC CONFERENCE — a 12-page talk given on December 12, 2014 to help close the PIAAC Invitational Research Conference.  At this two-day event held in Washington, D.C. researchers presented papers funded by the American Institutes for Research--on topics in Adult Education, Workforce Literacy, and Health Literacy in relation to PIAAC data. The papers and related resources are available on the PIAAC website at www.piaacgateway.com.

EDucation & GEnder (Nov. 22, 2014) — a 3-page review (in pre-typeset format) by Gail Spangenberg for the UNESCO Lifelong Learning Institute and the International Review of Education. This research work looks at the history and trends of gender-specific education in 12 countries, eds. Oliver Holz and Fiona Shelton. The full published document, by UNESCO's publication arm, Springer, may be accessed either online or in hard copy by subscription at http://rd.springer.com/journal/11159

EDUCATION ISSUES IN S.744 (June 13, 2014) — a four-page essay by NCAL Senior Advisor Garrett Murphy highlights the immigration issues and questions raised for Adult Education by certain language, civics and government, and educating/training provisions of S.744 -- the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act pending in the Senate.

Public Service Access to CAAL Publications

All publications of NCAL’s predecessor organization, the Council for Advancement of Adult Litearcy, are made available here as a public service.  They can be accessed from www.caalusa.org




NCAL is a Member of CIAW

Site hosted and maintained by

Jane Terry: website design
Contact the webmaster