Programme for the International
Assessment of Adult Competencies

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The International Conference on PIAAC and PIAAC-Longitudinal

April 5 – 6, 2017 in Mannheim, Germany

You can find the program in pdf-format here (1.07 MB).

Conference pictures (3.47 MB).


Monday, April 3rd, 2017GESIS Mannheim
10.00 - 18.00Workshop A: Analyzing PIAAC data with structural equation modeling in Mplus (Ronny Scherer)Workshop B: Analyzing PIAAC data with multi-level analysis in Stata (Jan Paul Heisig)
Tuesday, April 4th, 2017GESIS Mannheim
09.00 - 16.00Workshop A: Analyzing PIAAC data with structural equation modeling in Mplus (Ronny Scherer)Workshop B: Analyzing PIAAC data with multi-level analysis in Stata (Jan Paul Heisig)
Tuesday, April 4th, 2017Dorint Hotel
18.30 - 20.00Informal Get-together
Wednesday, April 5th, 2017Dorint Hotel
8.00 - 9.00Registration
9.00 – 9.15Welcome Address
9.15 – 10.45Invited Symposium I: Longitudinal follow-ups of PIAAC (Chair: B. Rammstedt & A. Zabal) (54 kB)Invited Symposium II: Surveying migrant subpopulations: Skills, surveying practices and recommendations for PIAAC (Chair: D. Maehler) (0.94 MB)Invited Symposium III: The economics of skills (Chair: L. Wößmann) (791 kB)
10.45 - 11.00Coffee break
11.00 - 12.30Invited Symposium IV: Competence measures and general mental ability (Chairs: F. Goldhammer & C. Carstensen) (60 kB)Invited Symposium V: Adult reading and numeracy skills and practices (Chair: A. Grotlüschen) (1.19 MB)Invited Symposium VI: Overeducation and skill mismatch in labor markets (Chair: P. Protsch) (1.25 MB)
12.30 - 13.30Lunch
13.30 - 14.15Keynote: Prof. Dr. Eric A. Hanushek
14.15 – 14.45Plenary debate on Keynote (Moderator: L. Wößmann; Discussants: H. Solga & W. Thorn)
14.45 - 15.00Coffee break
15.00 – 16.30Symposium VII: The social context of skills: Improving the PIAAC Background Questionnaire (Chairs: N. Massing & S. Schneider) (1.18 MB)Invited Symposium VIII: Dynamics of participation in further education and its effects (Chair: H. Kuper) (64 kB)Invited Symposium IX: Skills and the labor market (Chair: S. Wiederhold) (796 kB)
16.30 – 17.30Individual Paper Session I: Mismatch in the labor market (Chair: B. Schmidt-Hertha)
(722 kB)
Individual Paper Session II: Digital skills  and inequality (Chair: F. Goldhammer)
(782 kB)
Individual Paper Session III: Competence assessment (Chair: Anouk Zabal)
(581 kB)
19.00Complimentary Conference Dinner
Thursday, April 6th, 2017Dorint Hotel
8.00 - 8.30Registration
8.30 - 9.15Keynote: Dr. Matthias von Davier
9.15 - 9.45Plenary debate on Keynote (Moderator: C. Carstensen; Discussants: J.-E. Gustafson & R. Desjardins)
9.45 - 11.15Individual Paper Session IV: Skill formation across the life course  (Chair: H. Kuper)
(0.99 MB)
Invited Symposium X: Assessing non-cognitive skills in large-scale assessments (Chairs: B. Rammstedt & D. Danner) (730 kB)Individual Paper Session V: Response styles  (Chair: M. von Davier)
(479 kB)
11.15 - 11.30Coffee break
11.30 - 13.00Symposium XI: Social trust, education and skills (Chair: W. Thorn) (50 kB)Individual Paper Session VI: Skills and wages (Chair: M. Paccagnella)
(881 kB)
Individual Paper Session VII: Civic engagement and migrant skills  (Chair: P. Protsch)
(1.09 MB)
13.00 - 14.00Lunch
14.00 - 15.30Individual Paper Session VIII: Returns to education and skills (Chair: J.P. Heisig)
(1.10 MB)
Symposium XII: Skills in the labor market, choices in the working sphere, and the anatomy of risk and trust preferences (Chair: D. Schnitzlein) (896 kB)Individual Paper Session IX: Skill gain and loss around the world (Chair: S. Wiederhold)
(718 kB)
15.30 - 15:45Closing Remarks by Coffee and Tee
Friday, April 7rd, 2017GESIS Mannheim
09.00 - 13.00Workshop C: Analyzing PIAAC log file data (Frank Goldhammer & Krisztina Tóth)

Keynote Lectures

Keynote: What can be gained from international surveys?

Prof. Dr. Eric A. Hanushek


Prof. Dr. Eric A. Hanushek

Standford University, USA


 Abstract: Many countries have been expanding their survey data about their economies and their labor markets, so it is natural to consider how the PIAAC surveys can potentially add to our knowledge about economic outcomes. The primary space that these data open up is a fertile new area of research – what might be called a vastly enriched “comparative economic systems.” The PIAAC data, with the comprehensive picture of the labor force and labor market outcomes for a range of countries, change the vantage point for considering operations of labor markets. Analyses of markets within individual countries can at best be generalized to outcomes in the individual country, although this limitation is seldom noted. So people have been quite willing to take the results of from one place and to apply them broadly without clear understanding of how local institutions may affect these results.

Some initial analyses of the PIAAC data suggest that the institutional structure of individual economies may be very important. A simple but powerful example is seen in the dramatically different estimates of the returns to skills across countries. A second example comes from looking at individual submarkets. For example, the determination of salaries, the selection of teachers, and ultimately the impact of varying teacher quality appear very different across countries. And, while these labor market differences have been the subject of considerable speculation and assertion, they have not previously been subject to rigorous analysis because of the lack of appropriate data.

The new comparative economic systems subfield would begin to investigate how the institutional structure of countries guides and defines the operation of individual labor markets. And, to this end, the PIAAC surveys begin to open a window on the similarities and differences of national and regional labor markets.

Presentation available here (444 kB)!


Keynote: Comparability of scales in international assessments

Dr. Matthias von Davier


Dr. Matthias von Davier

National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), USA


Abstract: International comparisons of student and adult skills are scrutinized by experts in educational and psychological measurement. Important policy decisions are being made on the basis of data collected in assessment programs such as PIAAC, PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS, so that the quality of measurement is an issue of utmost importance. Several advances in modeling international data with generalized latent variable models have been developed and integrated into the analysis of data. These advances allow modeling data from a diverse set of countries in ways that reduce bias in the derived proficiency distributions. One particular aspect of these advances in explanatory models is the ability to account for country or language specific differences with respect to the ability to use models that incorporate strong measurement invariance. The talk will provide an overview of the methodologies used and provide an outlook with respect to the use of additional sources of data collected in computer based assessments.

Presentation available here (3.91 MB)!


April 5th, 2017

Presentation (828 kB): Vocational vs. general education and employment over the life-cycle: New evidence from PIAAC.  Authors: Ludger Wößmann & Franziska Hampf (Ifo Institute and University of Munich, Germany)

Presentation (625 kB): Skill use. Engagement in reading, writing and numeracy practices.  Author: Stephen Reder (Portland State University, USA)

Presentation (850 kB): The effects of vocational education on adult skills and wages: What can we learn from PIAAC?  Authors: Lorenzo Rocco & Giorgio Brunello (University of Padova, Italy)

Presentation (1.52 MB): Reviewing the PIAAC numeracy assessment framework.  Authors: Diana Coben (University of Waikato, New Zealand), Kees Hoogland (Mathematics Curriculum Researcher and Developer, The Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO), Netherlands) & Vincent Geiger (Australian Catholic University, Australia)

Presentation (1.34 MB): Learning to engage and engaging to learn – a virtuous cycle?  Authors: Ina Elisabeth Rüber, Andreas Martin & Carolin Knauber (German Institute for Adult Education, Leibniz Centre for Lifelong Learning, Germany)

Presentation (747 kB): German adult literacy level one survey 2017/18: Concept and methodological approach.  Authors: Klaus Buddeberg, Caroline Euringer & Anke Grotlüschen (Hamburg University, Germany)

Presentation (645 kB): Overeducation, labor market dynamics, and economic downturn in Europe.  Authors: Camilla Borgna, Heike Solga & Paula Protsch (WZB - Berlin Social Science Center, Germany)

Presentation (171 kB): The Longitudinal and International Study of Adults: A Canadian PIAAC-Longitudinal.  Authors: Andrew Heisz & Cathy Oikawa (Statistics Canada, Canada)

Presentation (506 kB): MisMatch in human capital accumulation.  Authors: Russell Cooper & Huacong Liu (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)

Presentation (852 kB): Should we teach general skills in vocational education? Evidence from 24 developed countries. Authors: Marieke Buisman (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), Mark Levels (ROA, Maastricht University, Netherlands) & Rolf van der Velden (ROA, Maastricht University, Netherlands)

Presentation (0.99 MB): The reliability of educational credentials: A general model on how education systems affect labor market allocation. Authors: Rolf van der Velden & Mark Levels (ROA, Maastricht University, Netherlands)


April 6th, 2017

Presentation (843 kB): Having the right mix: The role of skill bundles for comparative advantage and industry performance in global value chains.  Authors: Robert Grundke, Mariagrazia Squicciarini, Stéphanie Jamet & Margarita Kalamova (OECD, France)

Presentation (768 kB): Soft skills, hard world: Examining the relationships between tertiary education, soft skills, and occupational status in Germany and the United States.  Authors: Frank Fernandez & Liu Huacong (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)

Pre- and Post-Conference Workshops

Monday to Tuesday, April 3rd-4th, 2017

GESIS Mannheim

10.00 - 18.00


9.00 - 16.00

Workshop A: Analyzing PIAAC data with structural equation modeling in Mplus (Dr. Ronny Scherer, CEMO, Oslo; RDC PIAAC, Mannheim)

Workshop B: Analyzing PIAAC data with multi-level analysis in Stata (Dr. Jan Paul Heisig, WZB, Berlin; RDC PIAAC, Mannheim)

Friday, April 7th, 2017

GESIS Mannheim

9.00 - 13.00

Workshop C: Analyzing PIAAC log file data (Prof. Dr. Frank Goldhammer & Krisztina Tóth, DIPF, Frankfurt a.M.; RDC PIAAC, Mannheim)

Scientific Committee


For more information on the scientific program please contact:

Débora B. Maehler (E-Mail) or Beatrice Rammstedt (E-Mail)


For organizational information please contact:

Daniela Niederauer (E-Mail)

Maria Kreppe-Aygün +49 (621) 1246-184


GESIS - Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences

P.O. Box 12  21 55

68072 Mannheim, Germany

E-Mail: piaac2017(at)gesis(dot)org