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What is PIAAC?

The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is a cyclical, large-scale study that was developed under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As part of the first cycle of data collection, referred to as PIAAC Cycle 1, adults were surveyed in 24 participating countries in 2012, 9 additional countries in 2014, and 5 more countries in 2017. For a list of the countries that participated in PIAAC Cycle 1, please visit Participating Countries. Data collection for PIAAC Cycle 2 will begin in 33 countries in 2021.

The goal of PIAAC is to assess and compare the basic skills and the broad range of competencies of adults around the world. The assessment focuses on cognitive and workplace skills needed for successful participation in 21st-century society and the global economy. To learn more about what PIAAC measures, please visit What does PIAAC measure?

PIAAC is a complex assessment: the data collection has been conducted in multiple languages, in many countries with diverse populations, cultures, education and life experiences. All participating countries follow the quality assurance guidelines set by the OECD consortium, and closely follow all the agreed-upon standards set for survey design, implementation of the assessment, and the reporting of results.

PIAAC builds on knowledge and experiences gained from previous international adult assessments - the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL). PIAAC enhances and expands on these previous assessments' frameworks and, at the same time, improves upon their design and methodologies. To learn more about the history of PIAAC and its predecessors, please visit History of International Adult Literacy Assessments.

In the United States, the PIAAC assessment is conducted in English only, while the PIAAC survey background questions are in both English and Spanish. During data collection, PIAAC was also referred to as the International Survey of Adult Skills (ISAS) in the United States. To learn more about the U.S. data collections, please visit U.S. Household Study Data Collection and U.S. Prison Study Data Collection.

For more information on the release schedule of upcoming publications and products, please visit Schedule and Plans.