Publications

Literacy and Life Skills for Pasifika Adults - Further Investigation: Results from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey

Publication Details

This report, which complements Literacy and Life Skills for Pasifika Adults, investigates the extent to which the distribution of English literacy among Pasifika adults is associated with changes in the distribution of their educational attainment and familiarity with English.

Author(s): Elliot Lawes, Research Division, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: August 2009

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report. This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads/Links' inset box, top right).
Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

A model of document literacy

As was the case for prose literacy, we constructed a statistical regression model, that aimed to explain variation in document literacy of Pasifika adults in terms of variation in each of age, gender, labour force status, educational attainment, language most frequently spoken when at home, first language, place of birth and income. The model was constructed in three stages: firstly, excluding time spent in formal education and income as potential explanatory factors; secondly, including income but excluding time spent in formal education as a potential explanatory factor; thirdly, including both income and time spent in formal education.

Appendix Table 2 contains the standardised regression coefficients (and their errors) which form the model of document literacy. The following paragraphs set out the findings of the model. We look in some detail at the first stage of the model and then examine changes in the subsequent stages of the model. We finish with a brief summary.

Stage 1 of the model of document literacy

Stage 1 of the model of document literacy included the factors age, age squared (to allow for a non-linear relationship with document literacy), gender, labour force status (either employed or student or other), language most frequently spoken when at home, first language, and place of birth.

Of all of the factors in stage 1 of the model of document literacy, language spoken in the home was most closely associated with English document literacy. Pasifika adults who spoke English infrequently in the home tended to have lower document literacy skills.

After we have accounted for all other factors in stage 1 of the model we can also see that:

  • When compared with those of middle age, both younger and older Pasifika adults tended to have lower document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika adults who spoke English as an additional language and especially, those who spoke English infrequently in the home tended, to have lower document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika men and those Pasifika adults born outside of New Zealand tended to have lower document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika adults who were employed tended to have higher document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika adults who were students tended to have higher document literacy skills.


These findings match the findings of the stage 1 model of prose literacy.

Stage 2 of the model of document literacy

In addition to the factors included in stage 1 of the model of document literacy, stage 2 also included income.

Of all of the factors in stage 2 of the model of document literacy, language spoken in the home was still most closely associated with English document literacy. Again, Pasifika adults who spoke English infrequently in the home tended to have lower document literacy skills.

The findings for stage 1 of the model for document literacy still held in the stage 2 model (that is, regardless of level of income) except that, after accounting for all other factors in stage 2 of the model:

  • Pasifika adults with higher incomes tended to have higher document literacy skills.
  • As might be expected, those Pasifika adults who were employed tended to have higher incomes than others and income was more strongly associated with higher document literacy skills than being employed.


These findings again, were consistent with the findings of the stage 2 model of prose literacy. However, in the stage 2 model of document literacy, we also found:

  • Pasifika adults who spoke English as an additional language tended to have lower incomes and lower income was more strongly associated with lower document literacy skills.

Stage 3 of the model of document literacy

In addition to the factors included in stage 2 of the model of document literacy, stage 3 also included educational attainment (in the form of time spent in formal education).

Of all of the factors in stage 3 of the model of document literacy, time spent in formal education was most closely associated with English document literacy. Pasifika adults who had spent more time in formal education tended to have higher document literacy skills.

The findings for stage 2 of the model for document literacy still held in the stage 3 model (that is, regardless of time spent in formal education).

Summary of the model of document literacy

Of all of the factors in the model of document literacy, time spent in formal education was most closely associated with English document literacy. Pasifika adults who had spent more time in formal education tended to have higher document literacy skills.

In the absence of time spent in formal education, language spoken in the home was most closely associated with English document literacy. Pasifika adults who spoke English infrequently in the home tended to have lower document literacy skills.

After we have accounted for all other factors in the model we can also see that:

  • When compared with those of middle age, both younger and older Pasifika adults tended to have lower document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika adults who spoke English as an additional language tended to have lower document literacy skills. However, Pasifika adults who spoke English as an additional language tended to have lower incomes and lower income was more strongly associated with lower document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika men, Pasifika adults who spoke English infrequently in the home and those born outside of New Zealand tended to have lower document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika adults who were employed tended to have higher document literacy skills. However, as might be expected, those who were employed tended to have higher incomes and this was strongly associated with higher document literacy skills.
  • Pasifika adults who were students tended to have higher document literacy skills.
  • The above statements are valid regardless of the amount of time Pasifika adults spent in formal education. However, those Pasifika adults who had spent longer in formal education tended to have higher document literacy skills.


Figure 2 below, shows the relative impacts of the explanatory variables in the stage 3 model of document literacy. For each explanatory variable, an estimate of the standardised regression coefficient is presented together with a 95 percent confidence interval. The confidence interval straddles zero exactly when the explanatory variable is not significantly associated with document literacy (after controlling for the other variables in the model).


Figure 2: Standardised regression coefficients for document literacy
Figure 2: Standardised regression coefficients for document literacy


The strength of association of educational attainment (“time in formal education”) and familiarity with English (“English infrequent in home”) with document literacy is clear in Figure 2.


 Copyright © Education Counts 2014   |   Contact information.officer@minedu.govt.nz for enquiries.