Words and Pictures

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There's a nice entry up over at if:book by Nancy Kaplan, on the topic of the recent NEA report about reading. I can't say much about it (the report, that is), as I have many better things to read with my own time. Kaplan does a nice job of taking on the NEA's graphic "representations" of their findings, which don't support their conclusions. For example, the decline in reading? It's actually at the same level it was in 1971. The NEA report starts from a later date, so as to make it look like more of a decline than it actually is. And so on.

It's a nice, contemporary example of the kind of analysis that Edward Tufte has been doing for years with respect to information design--too bad that kind of reading proficiency is neither advocated nor practiced by the report.

Anyhow, her conclusion:

Because of changes in the nature and conditions of work, declining proficiency in reading among American adults might cause some concern if not alarm. It is surely also the case that educational institutions at every level can and should do a better job. Yet there is little evidence of an actual decline in literacy rates or proficiency. As a result, the NEA's core argument breaks down.

That is all. Go take a look.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on November 30, 2007 6:29 PM.

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