PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) Data Services
New Zealand is participating in Cycle 2 of the OECD's Survey of Adult Skills. This is part of the OECD's Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).
Through interviews with a representative sample of respondents aged 16-65 in each participating country, it assesses literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills. It continues the measures of Cycle 1, which built on previous international surveys of adult skills, allowing literacy levels to be compared over 25 years for some countries.
The OECD contracted the United States based organisation Educational Testing Service (ETS) to lead a Consortium of agencies to manage the implementation of Cycle 2 of the Survey of Adult Skills. ETS and the Consortium members work with participating countries to ensure the Survey data is comparable across countries, and that all aspects of its implementation are of high quality.
The Ministry of Education has contracted Reach Aotearoa (formerly CBG Research), a New Zealand based research company, (www.reach.co.nz), to undertake survey interviewing and data management. We are over-sampling Māori, Pacific people, and 16-25 year olds so that we can analyse data for these populations in more depth. We are also extending the age range to 75 years. Reach Aotearoa are using local branding New Zealand Study of Adult Skills (NZSAS).
What is the Survey of Adult Skills?
The Survey of Adult Skills:
- is the most comprehensive international survey of adult skills ever undertaken
- is a collaboration between governments, an international consortium of organisations and the OECD
- measures the skills and competencies needed for individuals to participate in society and for economies to prosper
- helps governments better understand how education and training systems can nurture these skills
- has a new timetable because of the twelve-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Zealand field trial took place in April-July 2021. The main data collection is from September 2022 to April 2023 in all participating countries. First results will be published in 2024.
The survey is carried out by:
- interviewing adults aged 16-65 years (16-75 years in New Zealand) in their homes – at least 5,000 in each participating country
- assessing literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills
- collecting a broad range of information from the adults taking the survey, including education background, how their skills are used at work and in other contexts such as the home and the community.
The information from individual respondents is strictly confidential. Published results are for groups of people where individuals cannot be identified.
Cycle 2 continues and develops the approach of Cycle 1 in the following ways:
- It measures literacy and numeracy skill in the same way as Cycle 1.
- It measures a new problem solving domain: Adaptive Problem Solving (APS). APS is the capacity to achieve one’s goals in a dynamic situation, in which a method for solution is not immediately available. It requires engaging in cognitive and metacognitive processes to define the problem, search for information, and apply a solution in a variety of information environments and contexts. Cycle 1’s problem solving domain, Problem Solving in Technology-rich Environments, differed from APS by focusing on solving problems by using digital technology, communication tools and networks.
- It collects new information on socio-emotional skills.
- It collects new measures of education pathways.
- The assessment is delivered on a touch-screen tablet rather than a laptop. This enables more people to undertake the full assessment electronically.
- The interview contains the following elements:
- A background questionnaire that collects information on education, work, use of skills at work and in everyday life, languages spoken and socio-demographic information. The background questionnaire is administered face-to-face by an interviewer who enters the respondent's answers into a tablet.
- A skill assessment which is undertaken by the respondent on the tablet. Test items cover a wide range of difficulty and measure skill in three skill domains: literacy, numeracy and problem solving.
Ministry of Education publications based on data from Cycle 1 of the Survey of Adult Skills are located at: Tertiary literacy and numeracy publications.
Which countries are participating in the Survey of Adult Skills?
The following 32 countries are participating in Cycle 2 of the Survey of Adult Skills: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
International sites of interest
The OECD's website contains:
- published findings from Cycle 1 of the Survey of Adult Skills
- technical, and methodological material
- countries' datasets and questionnaires
- the International Data Explorer where users can create their own statistical tables