There are 36 million low-literate adults in the country, and literacy service providers serve only 2 million of them. In Philadelphia alone, 550,000 adults lack the literacy skills needed to succeed in today’s economy. The Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE (ALXP) is an unprecedented project that will test, at an unparalleled scale, the effectiveness of mobile learning solutions among native and non-native speaking adults who lack basic English literacy skills. During the field test in Philadelphia, Dallas and San Francisco, eight mobile apps using new approaches to adult literacy will harness technologies like smartphones and tablets that low-literate populations use every day to address the language skills gap. These solutions will address the main obstacles to achieving literacy: access, retention and potential for scale. The most effective apps will be made available for use by literacy programs across the country allowing these tools to supplement and complement the limited resources currently available. Barra’s grant will support the Philadelphia field test.
In order to leverage the opportunity presented by the field test, additional funding of $60,000 was awarded to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Adult Education (OAE) in November 2017. XPRIZE worked in close collaboration with the OAE for over a year to design the operations and processes of the Philadelphia field test. This funding will allow the OAE to promote effective integration of the apps into adult basic education and English language instruction.