In 2012 ALTA undertook a tracer study to determine the impact that the programme has had on its students. The study sought responses from students who attended ALTA classes during the period 2001 to 2011. Click to read the findings of the 2012 ALTA Impact Survey.
In 1994 ALTA conducted the first national literacy survey in Trinidad and Tobago. Market Facts and Opinions (MFO) designed the random sample survey so that it matched the demographic criteria. ALTA prepared the literacy questions in keeping with the Caribbean literacy surveys previously done in Jamaica and Antigua so there would be basis for comparison.
ALTA tutors conducted the house-to-house questionnaires and a team of volunteers coded the forms under the direction of ALTA tutor Ruth Rawlins, retired Chief Statistical Officer at CSO (Central Statistical Office). MFO analysed the data and Ruth Rawlins added a detailed analysis of 10 statistical tables.
While this survey is dated, literacy surveys have now become highly technical and require huge resources so must be done by governments. Most official literacy statistics do not actually measure reading and writing skills, but are derived from self-reporting or years of schooling which the UN acknowledges do not give accurate literacy data. UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) is promoting LAMP (Literacy Assessment Monitoring Programme) to provide internationally comparable estimates and define finely graded levels of literacy competence.
LAMP aims to improve the quality of literacy data, especially at national level but also for international policy development and monitoring. In the Caribbean, St Lucia has led the way and completed LAMP in 2008, with Jamaica declaring in 2011 that they were starting on the process. At the end of November 2011, CARICOM held its first technical workshop on a common framework for a literacy survey using LAMP.
Trinidad & Tobago participated in PIRLS (Progress in Reading Literacy Study), administered by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) in a five-year cycle started in 2001, to assess the reading literacy (in mother tongue) of students aged 9 to 10 in the fourth grade. T&T ranked 39th out of the 45 participating countries in 2006.