Skills for Success Framework


Complexity is a task’s level of difficulty. Skills for Success are necessary for every job, but the skills are used at different levels of complexity depending on the demands of the job.

Document Use

Document Use is reading and using signs, labels, lists, maps, entry forms, and other visual and spatial displays of information. Document Use was one of the nine Essential Skills in the original framework. In the Skills for Success Framework, it is a skill that is embedded in Reading, Numeracy, and Writing.

Literacy Surveys

Literacy surveys are assessments designed to identify and measure a range of adult literacy skills in order to compare literacy across demographic groups.

Question Structure

Question structure and complexity looks at the specific elements of questions that determine their level of difficulty.

  • Lew, J., & Hardt, M. D. (2011). Controlling complexity: An introduction to question structure. SkillPlan.
  • Mosenthal, P., & Kirsch, I.S. (1994). Defining the proficiency standards of adult literacy in the U.S.: A profile approach. Retrieved July 27, 2021 from

Relationship between Skills for Success and social and economic outcomes

The relationship between Skills for Success and social and economic outcomes is that higher levels of skills leads to increases in GDP, productivity, health outcomes and more.

  • OECD and HRSDC (1997). Literacy skills for the knowledge society: Further results of the International adult literacy survey (login required).
  • McCracken, M and Murray, T.S (2007) The economic Benefits of Literacy, CLLRN, Ottawa
  • Murray, TS, Shillington, R and Glickman, V. (2009). Literacy, health literacy and health: Understanding the links, PHAC, Ottawa
  • Lange, J and Murray, T.S. (2018). Literacy Lost: Canada’s Basic Skills Shortfall:

Skills for Success Framework

The Skills for Success Framework is based on the skills needed to participate and thrive in learning, work and life. Skills for Success include skills that are foundational for building new skills and knowledge and important for effective social interaction. These skills overlap and interact with each other, and with other technical and life skills. They are inclusive and can be adapted to different contexts.


History & Evolution:

  • Young Adult Literacy Survey (1986)
  • Survey of Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities (1989)
  • National Adult Literacy Survey (1993)
  • Jones report (1994): Levels for Basic Skills: a research note for the definition of basic skills and development of measurement instruments. Human Resources Development Canada: technical report.
  • Mosenthal & Kirsch (1994): Defining the proficiency standards of adult literacy in the U.S.: A profile approach.
  • OECD’s Definition and Selection of Competencies Project (2005):
  • Human Resources Development Canada’s Essential Skills Research Project (1994)
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