Education & Skills Online will provide score reports that include the following:

  • Descriptive reports that characterise strengths and weaknesses in the skill areas assessed
  • Scores that will be reported in terms of described proficiency levels that capture the progression of task complexity and difficulty for the cognitive domains
  • Summary information for each of the non-cognitive areas
  • Comparative information for both the cognitive and non-cognitive areas that will benchmark results against selected national and international PIAAC results

Purchasers of the test can download the individual records of test-takers (background information and assessment results) in spreadsheet format for analysis.

Education & Skills Online is designed to provide reliable and valid estimates of the proficiency of individual test-takers in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments on the relevant PIAAC scales.

Some users may wish to use Education & Skills online to estimate the proficiency of particular groups through the conduct of research and evaluation studies. The extent to which the results from Education & Skills Online provide reliable estimates of the proficiency of groups will depend on a range of factors in addition to the reliability and validity of the Education & Skills Online instruments. These include sample design and selection, the level and pattern of non-response and the level of standardisation of the testing situation. It is the responsibility of users to ensure that good research practice is followed in the design, implementation and reporting of any research based on the use of Education & Skills Online.

The OECD takes no responsibility for the results and conclusions of studies that use data derived from Education & Skills Online. In reporting the results of any studies using results from Education & Skills Online, users should not claim or imply that the OECD endorses the findings and conclusions in any way or that the OECD is the source of these results. 

Users should acknowledge that Education & Skills Online is a product of the OECD and that its development has been supported by the European Commission in any publications that report results from studies using the tool.

Core Cognitive Assessments

Scores will be provided in an easy-to-read score report after test takers complete each assessment in the test. The score reports provide the test taker with a numerical score on the PIAAC scale, a description of their strengths and weaknesses in the area tested, and a comparison to scores of similar test takers in their country or internationally. 

  • How the Scales Are Divided into Levels

The proficiency scales range from 0 to 500 and are designed so the scores represent degrees of proficiency in a particular aspect of literacy, numeracy or problem solving in technology-rich environments. There are easier and harder tasks for each proficiency scale. Each scale is divided into proficiency levels based on the knowledge and skills required to complete the tasks within those levels.

Respondents at a particular level not only demonstrate knowledge and skills associated with that level but also the proficiencies required at lower levels. Thus, respondents scoring at Level 2 are also proficient at Level 1.

  • What the Levels Mean

Scores on each of the three scales are characterised in terms of levels that capture the progression of complexity and difficulty of the tasks in the tests. Below Level 1 represents the lowest level of proficiency, while each succeeding Level represents higher proficiency.

  • How the Levels Are Determined

To create the scales, expert groups in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments met with psychometricians and test developers and reviewed data, looked at the tasks along the 500-point scales, and determined the requisite skills and knowledge to complete those tasks progressively increased along the scale.

Score Range

  • For literacy and numeracy, scores will be given in 10-point increments ranging from 0 to 500 for each of the scales measured. Each score will fall into one of five levels based on the knowledge and skills required to complete the tasks within those levels.
  • Below Level 1 – 0 to 175
  • Level 1 – 176 to 225
  • Level 2 – 226 to 275
  • Level 3 – 276 to 325
  • Level 4/5 – 326 and above
  • For problem solving in technology-rich environments, your score will be given in 10-point increments from 0 to 500. Each score will fall into one of four levels:
  • Below Level 1 – 0 to 240
  • Level 1 – 241 to 290
  • Level 2 – 291 to 340
  • Level 3 – 341 and above

Scores for Non-cognitive Assessments

After each non-cognitive module, scores and an explanation of what they mean will be provided in a score report.

  • Skill Use

The Skill Use module assesses how often adults use the skills associated with reading, writing, numeracy, and information and communication technology (ICT) in their home and work lives, for a total of eight scores.  The score report for this module will tell adults whether their use of skills in each of the eight skill use areas is low, moderate, or high.  Test takers who report never using any of the skills in an area will receive a score of not applicable. The results for this assessment are linked to the PIAAC skill use scales.

The scores reported in the score have the following definitions:

  • Not Applicable: The test taker reported that he or she never engaged in any of the activities involving this skill.
  • Low:  The test taker reported that he or she rarely engaged in most of the activities involving this skill.
  • Moderate: The test taker reported that his or her engagement in activities varied in terms of how many activities you did and how often you did them.
  • High: The test taker reported that he or she engaged in most activities most days or every day.
  • Career Interest and Intentionality

The Career Interest and Intentionality module measures adults’ preferences for different types of work activities and environments, how well their interests match their current or intended job and the level of their intention to seek out new job opportunities and career- and job-related training.  Test takers receive scores in three areas:

  • Career Interest helps test takers identify the type of work they like to do by giving them an interest score in six areas: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.
  • Career Fit uses the test taker’s interests identified during the test to determine how well their interests align with their current job or desired job.  It also provides a list of 20 careers that are the best match for the individual’s interests and the 10 careers that are the worst match for the individual’s interests.
  • Career Intentionality compares test takers’ intention to seek a new job and/or additional training, confidence in seeking a new job, and intention to seek a new job to other Education & Skills Online test takers and assigns a score of high, moderate, or low.

  • Subjective Well-Being and Health

Subjective Well-Being refers to how people think and feel about their lives. In general, people who have a positive view of their own lives are hopeful for the future and have more positive experiences. They are likely to have higher Subjective Well-Being.  Researchers have found that people with higher subjective well-being are usually more productive and more successful in their personal and professional lives. They are more likely to live longer, healthier lives. The questions in this test have been used in many research studies worldwide. The score report describes test takers’ results in three major areas of Subjective Well-Being: Life Satisfaction, Positive Affect, and Negative Affect.

The Life Satisfaction aspect of Subjective Well-Being refers to how people think about their lives overall. How people feel about their lives is shown by such things as moods and emotions experienced day to day. The experience of positive emotions, such as joy or excitement, is called Positive Affect. The experience of negative emotions, such as anger, distress, or shame, is called Negative Affect.  The test taker receives a high, moderate, or low score for life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is important for adults to reach their best physical and mental health and well-being. A healthy lifestyle includes having a positive outlook on health, maintaining a healthy weight, and adopting healthy behaviors and habits.  This module summarises health attitudes and behaviors of the test taker, including health outlook, body mass index, diet and nutrition, smoking, exercise, and sleep.

  • Behavioral Competencies (only available from March 2018 to June 2020)

The Behavioral Competencies module is designed as a personality assessment for use in Education & Skills Online. This assessment provides scores across 13 traits which are expected to be instrumental to success in education and the workplace. Research has found that non-cognitive traits, such as those assessed by the Behavioral Competencies module, are malleable and that their improvement may aid in improving outcomes such as grades in school, anxiety reduction, and enhanced work-relevant skills.  

In the score report, test takers receive their percentile rank for each personality trait.  The percentile ranks are based on the international data obtained during the Education & Skills Online Field Test from the countries that participated in the Field Test.