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

Publication Details

This report, which complements Literacy and Life Skills for Maori Adults, investigates the extent to which the distribution of literacy among Maori adults is associated with a range of potential explanatory factors.

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

Date Published: August 2009

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  To view the individual chapters please refer to the 'Sections' inset box.  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Section 5: Discussion

The key overall finding of the regression model analysis is that, for Māori adults, time spent in education is the main explanatory factor for document literacy skill. Time spent in education is associated with being in work, having higher income, and having income from wages or salaries. The analysis indicates that the relationship between document literacy skills and these latter variables is likely due to their relationship with time spent in education. The general New Zealand population shows a similar pattern.

While the finding that time spent in education is the key factor associated with document literacy skills for Māori is perhaps unsurprising, it provides a direction for further research. For example, what specific aspects of teaching and learning, and at what education levels, make the most difference, for Māori, in skill acquisition? What barriers to staying engaged in education exist for Māori? What kinds of mismatch exist for Māori adults between skills they have and skills that are needed across economic, work and social contexts.

Some information collected in the ALL survey could be investigated in more depth to throw some light on these questions. Some examples are:

  • whether received remedial help with reading at school
  • the highest level of education reached
  • recent participation in education and learning
  • parental education level and occupation
  • literacy practice at work including attitude questions on whether reading and writing skills are sufficient.

However, other research, including within the early childhood, schooling and tertiary sectors, is likely to be needed to fully address these questions.

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