Programme for the International
Assessment of Adult Competencies

PIAAC Cycle 1

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany (BMBF) contracted GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences with the national project management of PIAAC Cycle 1 (February 2009 - June 2014). In addition, GESIS was a member of the international PIAAC consortium and was responsible for the validation and translation guidelines for the background questionnaire. At GESIS, a team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Beatrice Rammstedt worked on the PIAAC project.

In PIAAC Cycle 1, approximately 5,000 randomly selected adults between the ages of 16 and 65 were interviewed in each participating country. At the international level, PIAAC Cycle 1 consisted of three rounds of countries. Data collection for the first round of PIAAC began in August 2011 and ended in March 2012. The survey in PIAAC Cycle 1 consisted of two central elements: a cognitive assessment and a background questionnaire. Three competency domains were assessed: literacy (including reading components), numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. Compared to previous studies of adult competencies, PIAAC Cycle 1 introduced several key innovations.

First results were published both nationally and internationally on October 8th, 2013. Nine additional countries joined the second round of PIAAC (2012-2016). The results from Round I and II of the first PIAAC Cycle, encompassing 33 countries, were published in 2016. A third round with six additional countries (Ecuador, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru, USA) took place between 2016 and 2019. Results for the entire first cycle, including the third round, were published in November 2019.