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Programme for the International
Assessment of Adult Competencies


To achieve the objectives of PIAAC, the international PIAAC Consortium has developed a special survey design and corresponding survey instruments for PIAAC Cycle 2. The frameworks for the assessment domains have been revised, extended, or newly developed by the international expert groups. When developing the instruments, care was taken to maintain an adequate number of questions and items from Cycle 1 to allow for measurement of trend as well as to cover new constructs (e.g., with a view to the increasingly ubiquitous digitalization).

The PIAAC Interview

The PIAAC interview comprises two main modules, which are delivered on tablet computers in Cycle 2: first, an interviewer-administered background questionnaire, which collects important sociodemographic and other background data on the respondent; second, a self-administered direct assessment of cognitive skills, in which the respondents carries out everyday tasks on their own. In PIAAC Cycle 2, the cognitive assessment again includes literacy and numeracy. To allow for a differentiated measurement at low proficiency levels, reading components and numeracy components are assessed. An important innovation in PIAAC Cycle 2 is that the domain of adaptive problem solving is assessed for the first time.

Testing of Survey Instruments

The survey instruments were tested in a field trial in 2021. Based on the results of this field trial, the final set of questions for the background questionnaire and items for the cognitive assessment were selected for the main survey. The selection took into account that, in contrast to Cycle 1, the survey is not delivered on laptops but rather on tablet computers on which touch functionalities have been implemented. Using the data from the field trial, the international PIAAC Consortium examined, for example, whether mode effects occurred in comparison with Cycle 1. For the field trial, the survey instruments were translated by all participating countries in compliance with rigorous translation standards. The field trial data allowed for the examination of the equivalence of the translations and the possibility of implementing corrections for the main study.