Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (x, 155 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Aaron Benavot

Committee Members

Kathryn Schiller, Allan Wagner


Functional literacy, Technological literacy, Numeracy, Life skills, Adult education

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


Using the OECD the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competences (PIACC), the World Bank open data, the OECD data lab, and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, this study sets forth two conceptual frameworks to examine the effect of education on adult basic literacy and problem solving skills in technology-rich contexts. Based on a traditional approach to adult skills, this study explored how a differentiated form of initial education influences the acquisition of basic literacy and numeracy. Second, it build a proposed model assessing the effect of post-initial learning on problem solving skills in technology-rich contexts given that adults are required to continue learning to live well in the age of information and communication technology. Particular attention was given to investigating the specific features of national contexts that influence the relationship between education and skill acquisition. Considering the variation in institutional, cultural, and socio-economic environments among the different countries, this study adopted a multilevel logistic regression model to estimate the propensity score which predicts probability of academic tracking in initial education and of participating in adult learning after completing initial education. Key results of this study suggested that basic skills gap might be associated with educational tracking in initial schooling. Also, it was discovered that participating in adult learning might make a difference in problem solving skills in technology rich contexts. Empirical evidence of this study can contribute to supporting research and policy decisions in the key skills of adults.