Assessing adults’ skills on a global scale

A joint analysis of results from PIAAC and STEP

This paper illustrates similarities and differences between two international surveys that assess adults’ skills: the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and the Skills Towards Employment and Productivity (STEP) survey. In particular, the paper highlights the issues that can arise for researchers interested to jointly analyse the data from the two surveys and to compare their results. The paper finds that, in spite of the many similarities, important differences exist between PIAAC and STEP, both in the way the data are collected, and in the way the proficiency of respondents is estimated. These issues can indeed affect the cross-country comparability of results from the two surveys. There is instead little evidence that the literacy assessment used in the two surveys is not adequate to form a basis for a valid assessment of adults’ proficiency on a global scale.

Published on October 12, 2020