This study estimates the incidence, characteristics, and patterns of change over time of illiteracy in Morocco. The study compares the results from direct literacy assessment to the conventional methods of self-reporting literacy. This effort has provided more detailed, objective information with which patterns of literacy skills in the country may be determined, and their relationship to other important social and economic behaviors and outcomes analyzed. It also provides an opportunity to examine more closely the reliability and validity of common proxy indicators used to estimate literacy rates and skill levels. The results have implication both for methods of measuring literacy and for formulating policy to increase literacy. Furthermore, these implications are relevant for any country attempting to measure and improve literacy.