More about the OECD Survey of Adult Skills

 


Implementing the OECD Survey of Adult Skills

International comparisons

Who benefits from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills

Access to expertise and training

Link to previous international surveys

 

Implementing the OECD Survey of Adult Skills

  • The survey involves interviewing 5 000 adults aged 16 to 65 in their homes. Countries can choose larger samples to obtain more detailed information about groups of interest (e.g. younger cohorts).
  • Respondents answer questions via computer, although they can opt to complete a pencil-and-paper version of the survey.
  • National authorities in participating countries are responsible for sampling, translating survey instruments and questionnaires, collecting and processing data.

International comparisons

 

An important element of the “added value” of the OECD Survey of Adult Skills compared with national surveys is its international comparative dimension. The assessments and questionnaires are designed to maximise their cross-cultural, cross-national and cross-language validity. All participating countries must adhere to common technical standards when implementing the survey. The survey will thus provide a firm basis for comparative analysis of skill-formation systems and their outcomes, and for international benchmarking regarding adult skills. 

 

Who benefits from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills

  • Educators, policy makers, labour economists and experts will use survey information to develop economic, education and social policies that will continue to enhance the skills of adults.
  • Development agencies, international organisations, and other development partners will use the evidence from the data analysis to provide advisory services and support to countries.
  • The ultimate beneficiaries are citizens across participating countries who will benefit from more effective policy development and implementation.

 

Access to expertise and training

 

As an international co-operative venture, the Survey of Adult skills provides participating countries with access to high-quality expertise in the measurement of adult skills. The OECD provides countries with continuous training and high-level technical support throughout the survey process.

 

Link to previous international surveys

The OECD Survey of Adult Skills builds on two international surveys of adult skills – the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) (1994-98) and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL) (2004-07). The OECD survey considerably extends the scope of measuring adult skills to include those skills relevant to the digital age, particularly in the domains of literacy and problem solving.

The links between the three surveys will allow literacy levels to be compared over a 13-17-year period for some countries.

 

Links between skills assessed in the OECD Survey of Adult Skills, ALL and IALS

 

OECD (2008 – 2013)

ALL (2004-2007)

IALS (1994-1998)

 

Prose literacy

Prose literacy

 

Document literacy

Document literacy

Literacy (combined prose and document)

Literacy (combined prose and document*)

Literacy (combined prose and document*)

Reading components

 

 

 

 

Quantitative literacy

Numeracy

Numeracy

 

 

Problem solving

 

Problem solving in technology-rich environments

 

 

 
*Rescaled to form a single literacy scale combining the former separate prose and document literacy scales