Implications for future programme development
Thanks to GOAL, the pilot organisations are thinking about how they can incorporate the Literacy Screener into their mainstream work process and about identifying the successes and difficulties of this process. The organisations have succeeded with incorporating the Literacy Screener in their work process in such a way that it contributes to the improvement of their service provision and assists in bringing low literacy to light. The Reading and Writing Foundation can also use the good examples from these organisations to implement the Literacy Screener successfully in new organisations. At the same time, the study exposes where the process in the organisations can be improved further, for example with regard to internal communication and cooperation and with regard to the follow-up. In particular, people of low literacy whose native language is Dutch are not enrolling in a language course. These findings offer opportunities for the organisations, together with the Reading and Writing Foundation, to learn from the experiences up to now and to think about how the follow-up can be improved.
Implications of policy
An important aspect of tackling low literacy in the Netherlands is finding new sites which can deploy the Literacy Screener: organisations which people enter for a completely different reason and where the work activities are not primarily associated with low literacy. On the one hand, the involvement of new sites is a strength, because more people with low literacy will be discovered (the pilot organisations are a good example of this). On the other hand, the character of the new sites also brings difficulties, because people with a different aim and mindset who are not necessarily motivated to tackle their identified language problem come into the organisation. The clients of the social service in the municipality of Emmen are a clear example of this.
Implications for policy
One potential policy issue to consider is that of the recommendations made by the European Union High Level Group of Experts on Literacy. This Group, chaired by Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, called on Member States and the EU more broadly to support the development of policy environments in which individuals and organisations were more aware of low literacy as an issue for all of society to address.
With regard to the identification of low literacy, successes have been achieved. The efforts of the Reading and Writing Foundation have contributed to this. These successes in identification are, however, only really a success if there is proper follow-up, in the form of service users’ increased enrolment on appropriate courses to improve their literacy skills. This evaluation study shows that extra focus must be given to this latter aspect in the Dutch approach to low literacy. Support from the Reading and Writing Foundation continues to be important after the successful implementation of the Literacy Screener, for example in the making of strict working arrangements with regard to the follow-up. Furthermore, an attention point for the follow-up is to examine how to better connect with someone’s personal situation and to motivate them to take language lessons.
 EU-HLG (EU High Level Group of Experts On Literacy) (2012) Act now! Final report: EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. https://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/school/doc/literacy-report_en.pdf