The $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a competition challenging teams of developers (software, game and app), educators, engineers and innovators to create mobile literacy learning applications for the adult learner. The finalists teams’ solutions must demonstrate that they can substantially improve the literacy proficiency of adults reading at or below a third grade level, as measured by the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), within a 12-month period.
More than 36 million U.S. adults lack basic English literacy.
Low-literate adults have difficulty reading a child a bedtime story, reading over the counter medicine labels, completing a job application, opening a bank account, navigating healthcare forms, tax forms and more.
Economic studies show that even a one percent rise in literacy skill scores can increase labor productivity by as much as 2.5 percent, boosting output by as much as $225 billion.
Improving adult literacy could save the country an estimated $230 billion in extra healthcare costs.
More importantly, the legacy of low-literacy continues through generations, limiting opportunities and trapping whole families in a cycle of poverty.
In fact, a mother’s literacy level is the single most accurate predictor of a child’s future educational success and poverty level.
Competing teams will build solutions that propel adult education into the 21st century and beyond, creating smart, mobile solutions that will take learners further and faster than they thought possible. This competition will put learning tools in the hands of those who need them most, so learning can happen anytime, anywhere.
The applications will address the complexities of the adult learner’s life and reality – tackling the largest obstacles to achieving basic literacy by improving access, encouraging persistence, developing relevant learning content, and scaling nationwide.
Photo credit: Image of Mrs. Bush from the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation website.