There were two surprising findings in this project. The first was the similarity of issues across the three jurisdictions despite the different contexts. The International Adult Literacy Survey and follow-ups has moved the field on in important ways, not least by providing an international language for discussions about literacy in developed societies. Of course, some would suggest that the developments have not all been positive, and that the economic privilege associated with adult literacy is troubling. Most of the informants in this project would have agreed strongly with this, and there was evidently extremely sophisticated understanding of the complexities of literacy among the people who contributed. A key issue acknowledged across the board was the difficulty of capturing the diverse effects of adult literacy education in a easy to communicate measure.
The second surprise was the amount of energy and resources that are being put into answering such questions. While the three jurisdictions are clearly at different stages of development in their accountability systems, they are all bring vast amounts of expertise and imagination to bear on the problem. A related comment is that all three are similarly struggling with the burden of history, which is not always kind to the collaborative action needed to address such broad complexities.
The consistency of the efforts in the case study jurisdictions suggests that the key findings may be recognisable beyond these locations, and certainly my own experience in European discussions would tend to support this view. It is fascinating to see global issues being addressed on a local scale, and local experience can generate some important insights. The dilemmas of accountability, however, are likely to be challenging the field for some time to come.