The test was administered only to those individuals who stated that they were fluent in English or French. These individuals took part in a series of tests that examined their prose, numeracy, and problem solving abilities.
Each person who took part in the survey was first given a common questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed to gather demographic information such as age, sex, education, occupation, income, and engagement in adult learning and community activities. They were then given the IALSS test that measured the following:
The literacy tasks covering these categories were scaled by difficulty from 0 to 500. This range was then divided into five broad literacy levels.
Indicates very low literacy skills, where the individual has very basic reading skills. For example they may have difficulty identifying the correct amount of medicine to give a child from information found on the package.
Respondents can deal only with material that is simple, clearly laid out, and in which the tasks involved are not too complex. This is a significant category because it identifies people who may have adapted their lower literacy skills to everyday life but would have difficulty learning new job skills requiring a higher level of literacy.
Considered as the minimum desirable threshold in many countries but some occupations require higher skills.
Show increasingly higher literacy skills requiring the ability to integrate several sources of information or solve more complex problems. It appears to be a necessary requirement for some jobs.