Risk and protective factors for the development of low literacy and numeracy in German adults (GeLiNu)

Team: Dr. Alexandra Wicht, Dr. Nivedita Bhaktha
Leader: Dr. Clemens Lechner, Prof. Dr. Beatrice Rammstedt
Scientific unit: Abteilung Survey Design and Methodology (SDM), Team Scale Development and Documentation (SDD)


This project aims to identify risk and protective factors for low literacy and low numeracy during the transition to adulthood and in the further course of adulthood. Toward that aim, we will analyze longitudinal data from two starting cohorts (4 and 6) of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). The starting point of the project is a comprehensive review of the qualitative and quantitative evidence on the determinants of low competency levels. Next, we will transfer the limits (“cut-scores”) defining low competency levels from other studies (e.g., PIAAC, PISA, leo) to the NEPS competence data in order to reliably classify respondents as having low competence levels (or not). This will be followed by descriptive analyses revealing the prevalence of different trajectories (growth, decline, continuity) of the competence levels over time. Subsequently, we will use advanced multivariate analysis techniques to identify factors (e.g., educational, occupational, familial, or health-related) associated with an ascent from, or a descent into, low literacy and numeracy levels. The risk and protective factors thus identified lend themselves as possible targets for educational policies and interventions.


01.11.2017 – 30.4.2021

Sponsored by

Project number: W143700A


  • Prof. Dr. Anke Grotlüschen, Universität Hamburg (UHH)
  • Prof. Dr. Cordula Artelt, Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe (LIfBi), Bamberg