Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Literacy as numbers
View graph of relations

Literacy as numbers: researching the politics and practices of international literacy assessment

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsAnthology

  • Mary Hamilton (Editor)
  • Bryan Maddox (Editor)
  • Camilla Addey (Editor)
Publication date2015
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages230
ISBN (print)9781107525177
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This book enquires into the politics and practices of international literacy assessment programmes, exploring how the internationally comparable numbers so heavily relied on in national policy are produced and how they shape our understanding of the meanings and purposes of literacy.

It aims to raise questions and trigger discussion on processes of quantification by examining the concepts of literacy competence that underpin international assessment data and the challenges of achieving cross-cultural validity in diverse international settings

The collection brings together internationally leading academics in this field and representatives from key policy and literacy assessment institutions to begin to identify a future research agenda for the emerging field of International Assessment Studies. It illuminates the work that goes on behind the scenes in producing the tests and the data. The unfinished nature of this work is evidenced through insider accounts of the debates that absorb researchers, policy makers, implementers and practitioners alike.

The book will be of particular interest for students of literacy and global educational policy, teachers of literacy and researchers located within universities and within assessment programmes, as well as practitioners in testing agencies, educational policy makers and other end users of the data.

Mary Hamilton is Professor of Adult Learning and Literacy in the Department of
Educational Research at Lancaster University. She is Associate Director of the
Lancaster Literacy Research Centre and a founder member of the Research and
Practice in Adult Literacy group.

Bryan Maddox is a senior lecturer in education and international development at the University of East Anglia. He specialises in ethnographic and mixed methods research on globalised literacy assessments.

Camilla Addey is a researcher in international educational assessments and global
educational policy. She recently completed her PhD which focused on the rationales
for participation in international literacy assessments in Mongolia and Laos.