Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, February 04, 2009  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Phone: 502-573-1555
Cell: 502-330-6596

Reecie Stagnolia
Phone: 502-573-5114, ext. 124

     A national assessment of adult literacy released recently shows that literacy levels of Kentucky adults have improved while nationwide levels have held steady.

     The study, from the National Center for Education Statistics, is the most comprehensive measure of adult literacy since 1992.

     The National Assessment of Adult Literacy: Indirect County and State Estimates of the Percentage of Adults at the Lowest Literacy Level for 1992 and 2003 provides estimates on the percentage of adults - for all states and counties in the U.S. - who lack basic prose literacy skills. The study is based on a survey of 19,000 Americans age 16 and older, given in 1992 and 2003. Census data also was used to calculate estimates at the state and county level.

     According to the study, the percent of Kentucky population lacking basic prose literacy skills decreased seven percentage points from 19 percent in 1992 to 12 percent in 2003.

     Robert L. King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said the study provides encouraging news. “This is a very favorable finding that confirms the progress of Kentucky’s efforts.  However, much work remains to be done.”

     In 2003, 21 other states had a higher percent of population lacking basic prose literacy skills than Kentucky; compared to five states in 1992.  Prose literacy is defined by reading materials arranged in sentences and paragraphs.  Examples of prose literacy include newspaper articles, editorials and brochures. 

     Reecie Stagnolia, interim vice-president for Kentucky Adult Education, noted that Kentucky is also excelling in increasing the annual number of GED graduates.  In the last eight years, nearly 90,000 Kentuckians earned a GED diploma, ranking Kentucky 12th highest nationally in the percentage of non-high school completers earning a GED diploma. From fiscal year 2006-07 to fiscal year 2007-08, Kentucky had an 11 percent increase in GED graduates, representing the most significant growth in seven years. 

     For a full copy of the study, visit the NCES Web site at


     Kentucky Adult Education is a unit of the Council on Postsecondary Education and provides GED instruction, workforce education, family literacy, English as a Second Language and reading instruction at adult education centers in every Kentucky county. More information is available at


Last Updated 2/4/2009