IBOPE Intelligence in Research and Consulting



This longitudinal research set out to investigate functional literacy rates among those currently in the education system, as well as the general adult population. The latter is significant as is generally not examined by other educational assessments. These assessments evaluate the level of skill that voters, consumers and heads of house need to function in a fully literate society and how working positions and social spaces can contribute to different conditions of literacy and numeracy development and how these factors impact daily life. The INAF is now considered one of the main literacy indicators with education administrators and civil society organisations in Brazil.


A series of interview and cognitive tests applied to the national sample create the basis of the INAF, which is representative of the Brazilian population aged 15-64. Item response theory (IRT) is a statistical technique, analysing test scores and other proficiency measuring instruments which is used by the INAF to provide a probability of individuals responding correctly to questions in accordance to the difficulty of the questions. This enables the comparison of data between and within regions, age groups, level of education and other variables of significance.


IRT enabled the development of a single scale literacy measurement, consisting of illiteracy, rudimentary literacy, basic literacy, intermediate literacy and proficient literacy. The results provided by INAF are significant and can be used when discussing public policy in regard to education. This will enable and promote more effective integration programmes to improving levels of functional literacy among students while providing a comprehensive view of the state of literacy in Brazil. Additionally, the IRT allows the assessment of literacy skills among specific groups providing a wider set of results that are more representative of the population as a whole. This has the potential to be used internationally and globally, providing better insight into the worlds literacy rates.



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