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Programme for the International
Assessment of Adult Competencies


Literacy is the ability to access, understand, evaluate, use, and reflect on written texts to accomplish one’s objectives, develop one’s knowledge and potential, and participate in society. Literacy is an important prerequisite for the acquisition of further skills. The concept of literacy in PIAAC Cycle 2 also takes into account that reading behavior has changed as a result of the increasing digitalization of modern society. Therefore, there is an increased focus on digital reading of texts that are distributed across different locations and linked with each other. Thus, navigation, strategic scanning, and increasingly the evaluation of the trustworthiness of text sources are required. Literacy items consist of everyday tasks in a wide variety of contexts. For example, respondents might have to search for specific health-related information on different websites, search customer reviews in electronic media, or answer questions about an article.