Adult Literacy & Adult Education SIG 4
Adult Literacy & Adult Education SIG 4
SIG Purpose

The Adult Literacy and Adult Education SIG (ALAE) is dedicated to research, development, policy, and practice in adult literacy and adult education. The group takes an interdisciplinary, lifespan perspective on learning and instruction among diverse populations. 


The Adult Literacy and Adult Education (ALAE) SIG is one of the few places in AERA to connect with researchers working with adult populations. We also offer opportunities to be a part of the community of adult education researchers, to meet people who work with or have connections to institutions that fund research, hire adult education researchers, and publish adult education manuscripts. We are always growing our vibrant scholarly community. Please invite your colleagues and graduate students to join our SIG. If you are not already an AERA member, go to the website.  Be sure to select the ALAE membership ($10). If you are already an AERA member, you can update your existing membership online through the AERA site and by selecting our Special Interest Group as one of your SIGs (note: we are ALAE SIG #4).

Message from SIG Chair

As your elected officers, we look forward to serving you and the field over the next two years. We intend to plan ALAE sponsored initiatives within and outside of the AERA Annual Conference to address your needs for professional learning and foster a sense of community for ALAE members.

  1. First, thank you for those who have already volunteered to serve as reviewers for the 2023 AERA Annual Meeting! We are seeking additional volunteers to serve as reviewers. This is a great way to get involved in the SIG and a valuable service opportunity, especially for early career scholars. We encourage any SIG members to volunteer as your expertise and feedback really helps shape the content year-to-year. Depending on the volume of submissions, reviewers can expect anywhere from 5-10 (it cannot exceed 10!) submissions to review. These reviews will take place during a 3-week period (August 15-September 9).

If you are a current member, to sign-up, to volunteer, please visit, sign into your account, click on “My AERA”, and scroll down to click “2023 AERA Annual Meeting – Volunteer to be a Reviewer”. From there, under “General Menu”, you will complete a short form that our program chair will use to help assign relevant submissions to you. Make sure once you submit the form you also selected the ALAE SIG from the list of reviewer options. Please be sure to indicate your area(s) of expertise and interest so our new Program Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Tighe can match you with appropriate proposals.

  1. Please fill out our Membership Needs Assessment by July 31st. We would like to know what your needs and interests are as we shape the direction of the SIG for the next two years.

  1. Finally, we want to let you know that we will be sending out a monthly “ALAE Special Things Survey.” We invite everyone in ALAE to input something special that happened in the past month related to their work. Please share big things - like being awarded a large grant, an appointment as a journal editor or editor of a book, a call for manuscripts, or a call for a job. Also, please consider sharing smaller things like an excellent article or a question for the group you would like to share. Please know we intend to share your “Special Things” in multiple ways – like our email listserv, our soon to be revised website, and/or through the officers’ social media platforms.  Feel free to fill out this survey as many times as you like by July 31st. We love spreading the good news of the ALAE community!

Meet the ALAE Elected Leadership

Leah Katherine Saal is the new ALAE Chair and is looking forward to supporting the professional collaboration and learning of ALAE membership. Leah Katherine is an Associate Professor of Literacy at Loyola University Maryland. Saal’s engaged scholarly agenda focuses on the intersectionality of literacy and social justice. Her research includes two dovetailing strands: 1) the literacies of adults in and out of educational programs and 2) the preparation and support of literacy leaders to work for social justice. She has over seventeen years of experience working with, learning from, and teaching in adult education programs in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Maryland.

Elizabeth Tighe is excited to serve as the new Program Chair and is looking forward to an exciting 2023 Annual Meeting. Liz is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Assistant Director of the Adult Literacy Research Center at Georgia State University (GSU). Her research focuses on the literacy skills and instructional needs of struggling adult readers. She has published and presented work on individual differences in adults’ component reading skills, assessment and measurement of reading constructs, classification of learning disabilities, and using educational technology in adult literacy classrooms.  Her work has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, National Institutes of Health, and AERA. She has also tutored in multiple adult literacy classrooms in Florida and Massachusetts and has also taught high school equivalency courses in Arizona.

Margaret Patterson is the incoming Secretary/Treasure. Margaret is a Senior Researcher with Research Allies for Lifelong Learning in the Washington, DC, metro area (, partners with non-profit organizations, postsecondary institutions, and state agencies to apply research and conduct evaluations that support adult educators and learners. Previously, she served as Research Director at GED Testing Service in American Council on Education and as Associate Director of Adult Education in Kansas. She administered and taught in adult education programs in Nebraska, Nevada, Kansas, and Virginia, and provides professional learning on research and evaluation throughout the USA.

We sincerely appreciate your consideration and input, and we look forward to serving you while learning with/from you!

ALAE SIG Chair  

Interested in Large Scale Assessments?

An exciting Message from IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement):

Are you interested in large-scale assessments?

 Some words about the ILSA Gateway: It is an open-access platform that, for the first time, provides researchers a single entry point to major international large-scale assessments in education conducted by the following organizations: CONFEMEN (PASEC), the IDB (PRIDI), the IEA (ICCS, ICILS, PIRLS, TEDS-M, and TIMSS), IEA/UNESCO (REDS), the OECD (IELS, PIAAC, PISA, TALIS, and TALIS Starting Strong), SACMEQ (SACMEQ III, SACMEQ IV), SEAMEO/UNICEF (SEA-PLM), UNESCO (TERCE), and the World Bank (STEP). 

For each study, users can navigate to a fact sheet that provides a quick overview; read more detailed information on the study framework, design, results, and data pages; and easily access the related resources on the external study websites. The platform also features a glossary, search tool, and paper database, of which the latter allows researchers to identify relevant articles published to date in peer-reviewed journals, including secondary analyses of the above-mentioned study data.

The website is available at

Download the ILSA Gateway brochure on:



Learn More



Want to learn all about how to apply for, and win, research grants? Here are links to the slide deck and recording from AERA's Adult Literacy & Adult Education SIG's Lunch & Learn from 8/31/2023.

Thank You ProLiteracy!

A BIG thanks to ProLiteracy for sponsoring our SIG awards. Their support is greatly appreciated. Please visit ProLiteracy at to learn about the great work they're doing in adult basic education. Submissions to their peer reviewed journal, Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy are always welcome:


Let's Keep in Touch!

Chair:  Leah Katherine Saal, Ph.D. (

Program Chair: Elizabeth Tighe, Ph.D. (

Secretary/Treasurer: Margaret Patterson, Ph.D. (

SIG Webmaster: Christine Miller, Ph.D. (