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Literacy Domain

The PIAAC literacy framework expands the definition of literacy used in IALS and ALL1 and provides a broad definition of literacy:

"Literacy is understanding, evaluating, using and engaging with written text to participate in the society, to achieve one's goals and to develop one's knowledge and potential."

This definition (a) highlights the ranges of cognitive processes involved in literacy, (b) focuses on a more active role of individuals in the society (participating), and (c) includes a range of text types, such as narrative and interactive texts, in both print and electronic formats.

While this is a broader definition than IALS and ALL, selected items from those assessments are used to provide a link to IALS and ALL. PIAAC items include continuous texts (e.g., sentences and paragraphs), non-continuous texts (e.g., schedules, graphs, maps), and electronic texts (including hypertext, or text in interactive environments, such as forms and blogs). Task activities are presented in home, work, and community contexts, addressing various purposes adults pursue in their lives.

Based on the PIAAC framework, literacy tasks include items (in both modes) that cover a range of difficulties--low, middle, and high--to present a comprehensive picture of the range of skills of adults in each country. For descriptions of the literacy tasks that are associated with PIAAC scores and achievement levels, click here.

To go to the next domain, click here.

Click here for sample items in Literacy Domain.


1 IALS and ALL definition: Literacy is using printed and written information to function in society to achieve one's goals and to develop one's knowledge and potential.

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