Programme for the International
Assessment of Adult Competencies

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about your participation in PIAAC.

PIAAC stands for Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. Organized by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), PIAAC assesses common everyday skills among adults in more than 30 countries worldwide. The survey is repeated every ten years and is now taking place in Germany for the second time. GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences is responsible for the national project management of PIAAC in Germany.

PIAAC collects important information on the skills that adults have developed during their lives, and how they use these skills in their everyday life and in the workplace. Using this information, different questions can be addressed, such as:

  • Which skills have adults in different countries developed during their lives?
  • How have these skills changed in the different countries over the last decade?
  • How do adults use their skills, and what can policy makers do to promote skill development?

The PIAAC results offer a scientific basis for important political decisions, especially for policy making in the areas of education and labor market.

Adults in 33 countries worldwide will be interviewed for PIAAC. An overview of all participating countries can be found here.

In Germany, PIAAC is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), with the support of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences was entrusted with the scientific national project management of PIAAC in Germany. Interviewers from the survey institute Kantar (formerly Infratest) will conduct interviews with the persons selected for participation.

Persons between 16 and 65 years of age can be selected for PIAAC. Nationality, residence status, and language skills are not relevant for participation. If you have been chosen for the PIAAC interview, your participation is very important!

Participation in PIAAC is voluntary. However, to ensure that the results for Germany are meaningful and reflect the diversity in our society, it is very important that all selected persons take part. Whether or not you are employed, whether you are still in school or already retired, whether you were born in Germany or in another country – by completing the interview, you will contribute substantially to the success of PIAAC in Germany.

The survey institute Kantar (formerly Infratest) is conducting the PIAAC interviews in Germany. An interviewer from Kantar will contact you in person to arrange an appointment for the interview. Usually, the interview will take place in your home and last around two hours. Upon completion of the interview, you will receive 50 € as a sign of our appreciation.

You can find an overview of the interview process under Your Participation.

The interview consists of two parts. First, the interviewer will ask you general questions about yourself. These include questions about your education and training, your work experiences, and how frequently you use certain skills in your daily life and at work. Then, you will be asked to complete tasks using a tablet computer – these are tasks similar to those you are familiar with from your everyday life. For example, you may need to exchange a product ordered online or determine the shortest route between two places using a map.

You can find further examples under “Example Tasks”.

PIAAC is conducted in full compliance with current data protection regulations. All personal data are treated as strictly confidential and are not disclosed to third parties. Individuals are not identifiable in the published results. You can find further information in the PIAAC Data Protection Sheet (143 kB) (German only).

The health of all involved parties is our highest priority. The interviewers from the survey institute Kantar received comprehensive training in safety protocols and procedures for the PIAAC survey which they strictly adhere to. For example, they carry out a Covid-19 self-test on each interview day, practice social distancing of at least 1.5 meters, wear a FFP2-grade mask during the whole duration of the interview, and disinfect all materials prior to handing them you. You can find detailed information about the PIAAC safety protocols and procedures in the information package that will be sent to you prior to your interview.

The survey institute Kantar has set up a free hotline for PIAAC participants: 0800/100 1425. Kantar’s PIAAC team is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer your questions.