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Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)


The skills that are assessed in PIAAC (literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments) are cognitive skills that provide a foundation for successful participation in society and the global economy. Understanding the level and distribution of these skills among the adult population in participating countries, as well as the ways in which such skills are developed and maintained, and the social and economic benefits for individuals, is important for policy makers and other stakeholders. The PIAAC project seeks to provide evidence for the following policy questions:

  • How are skills distributed? A comparison of skill levels, skill requirements, mismatches and investments in education and training across countries, and within countries across demographic categories, regions, sectors of industry, levels and fields of schooling.

  • Why are skills important? The relation of skills to relevant labor market outcomes such as employment opportunities, earnings, job security, and skill utilization, as well as to other outcomes such as health, civic engagement, and social trust.

  • What factors are related to skill acquisition and decline? The relation between various learning activities (i.e., education, training, informal learning activities) and skill acquisition. The relation of experiences at work, in education and everyday life to skill decline among older individuals.