Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies

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* PIAAC (dutch)



Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies


PIAAC aims at developing a strategy to address the supply and demand of competencies that would:

  • identify and measure differences between individuals and countries in competencies believed to underlie both personal and societal success;
  • assess the impact of these competencies on social and economic outcomes at individual and aggregate levels;
  • gauge the performance of education and training systems in generating required competencies; and
  • help to clarify the policy levers that could contribute to enhancing competencies.


The survey in 2013, focuses on skills – literacy, numeracy and problem solving – similar to those assessed in PISA; but the two studies use different assessment tasks, reflecting the different contexts in which 15-year-old students and older adults live. The surveys have complementary goals: PISA seeks to identify ways in which students can learn better, teachers can teach better, and schools can operate more effectively; the Survey of Adult Skills focuses on how adults develop their skills, how they use those skills, and what benefits they gain from using them. To this end, the Survey of Adult Skills collects information on how skills are used at home, in the workplace and in the community; how these skills are developed, maintained and lost over a lifetime; and how these skills are related to labour market participation, income, health, and social and political engagement. With this information, the Survey of Adult Skills can help policy makers to:

  • examine the impact of reading, numeracy and problem-solving skills on a range of economic and social outcomes;
  • assess the performance of education and training systems, workplace practices and social policies in developing the skills required by the labour market and by society, in general; and
  • identify policy levers to reduce deficiencies in key competencies.


Strategy Paper for 2007


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