About the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC)


‌The Survey of Adult Skills is an international survey conducted in 33 countries as part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). It measures the key cognitive and workplace skills needed for individuals to participate in society and for economies to prosper. The first results from the Survey were released on 8th October 2013.

The evidence from this Survey will help countries better understand how education and training systems can nurture these skills. Educators, policy makers and labour economists will use this information to develop economic, education and social policies that will continue to enhance the skills of adults.‌

Main elements of the Survey

Sample Items from the Survey

The survey is implemented by:
  • interviewing adults aged 16 to 65 in their homes – 5 000 individuals in each participating country
  • answering questions via computer, although the survey can also be implemented via pencil-and-paper
  • assessing literacy and numeracy skills and the ability to solve problems in technology-rich environments
  • collecting a broad range of information, including how skills are used at work and in other contexts, such as the home and the community.
The survey is designed:
  • to be valid cross-culturally and cross-nationally
  • for countries to be able to administer the survey in their national languages and still obtain comparable results
  • to provide comparative analysis of skill-formation systems and their outcomes, and international benchmarking regarding adult skills
  • as a survey that will be repeated over time to allow policy makers to monitor the development of key aspects of human capital in their countries.

Survey workflow


The OECD provides capacity building by:
  • offering continuous training and high-level technical support throughout the survey process
  • providing participating countries with access to high-quality expertise in the measurement of adult skills.


Beneficiaries from the 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.

Participants in Round 1 (2008-2013)

Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada,  Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation*, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Northern Ireland), United States. 


Participants in Round 2 (2012-2016)

Chile, Greece, Indonesia*, Israel, Lithuania*, New Zealand, Singapore*, Slovenia, Turkey.

* OECD Partners

Round 3 (2014-2018)

» how to join the Round 3 of the Survey of Adult Skills


To read more about the Survey in different languages


em Português العربية на русском языке 中文


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