15% of the population in England is functionally illiterate, that’s a statistic that is shared widely. What is less well known is the distribution of the reading levels of the remainder of the population. The data collected by the OECD survey of adult skills shows that as much as 85% of the population has a literacy level that corresponds to the target level at the end of primary school. In the chart below (left), we map the OECD results to the Wizenoze readability index.
At the same time, less than 20% of the online information is readable for Key Stage 2 readers. When we classified online information for inclusion in the Web for Classroom collection, we found that the vast majority of online content is at levels 4 and 5 (Key Stages 3 and 4). When we take into account that all sources in this collection are checked by teachers to be relevant for classroom use, the situation on the web as a whole can only be worse.