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Academic Literacy

What is Academic Literacy?

Academic Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write in at least one method of writing, an understanding reflected by mainstream dictionaries. In this view, illiteracy would be considered to be the inability to read and write.

Some researchers suggest that the history of interest in the concept of “literacy” can be divided into two periods. First, is the period before 1950, when literacy was understood solely as alphabetical literacy (word and letter recognition). Second, is the period after 1950, when literacy slowly began to be considered as a wider concept and process, including the social and cultural aspects of reading and writing, and functional literacy.

The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (USA) included “quantitative literacy” (numeracy) in its treatment of literacy. It defined literacy as “the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential”. It included three types of adult literacy: prose (e.g., a newspaper article), documents (e.g., a bus schedule), and quantitative literacy (e.g., using arithmetic operations in a product advertisement).

In today’s world, aptitude for digital or technological proficiency is rapidly expanding and becoming more relevant.