The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies

Team: Dorothée Behr and Anouk Zabal
Leader: Prof. Dr. Beatrice Rammstedt
Scientific unit: Survey Design and Methodology (SDM)


<link 3305>PIAAC </link>is an OECD international large-scale assessment—similar to PISA—which measures competencies in an internationally comparable manner. Unlike PISA, however, PIAAC focusses on key adult competencies considered important for successful societal participation and, in particular, for a successful professional life.  As a result PIAAC offers comprehensive information on human capital that can be used by global economies to make informed decisions about political and social interventions.

In the first cycle of PIAAC, a representative survey was carried out simultaneously in 24 countries (data collection 2011/2012). The results of this first round of countries were published in October 2013. A second round of countries carried out their data collection in 2014/2015 and published their results in June 2016. In addition, a third round of countries intends to collect their data in 2017 and publish their results in 2019.

An international Consortium was responsible for the overall design, coordination, and international implementation of the PIAAC project. GESIS was a part of this international Consortium and was involved in the development of the background questionnaire. The PIAAC background questionnaire was developed in close cooperation with ROA (Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market, University of Maastricht). The questionnaire collects socio-demographical data, as well as information on areas such as educational background, work, or antecedents and outcomes of skills. GESIS was responsible for the validation of the questionnaire which was carried out using both qualitative as well as quantitative methods. Furthermore, GESIS produced the translation guidelines for the questionnaire and provides the participating countries with training and advice for the translation and adaptation of their national questionnaires. 



Sponsored by



  • ETS
  • cApStAn
  • DIPF
  • IEA
  • ROA, Universtät Maastricht