The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) aims to assess basic skills of the adult population in an internationally comparable way. The skills assessed – literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments – are considered to be essential for successful participation in modern society and to be a foundation for developing numerous other, more specific, skills and competencies (OECD, 2013). PIAAC provides information about the extent to which the adult population in the respective participating countries differs in terms of the basic skills assessed. In addition, it examines factors associated with the acquisition, retention, and maintenance of these skills, and sheds light on their effects on social and, in particular, economic participation.
Moreover, PIAAC establishes a link to previous international assessments of literacy and numeracy skills, the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL).
The results of PIAAC serve policy makers as a basis for the identification of possible courses of action to adapt to future demands of the 21st century in the education and training system. In particular, comparing the results of PIAAC across participating countries is useful and informative to improve strategies and policies.