U.S. PIAAC Data Collections

In the United States, two rounds of data collection have been conducted for PIAAC, the first in 2011–12 and the second in 2013–14. The results from the first round were released in October 2013, and the results from the second round in March 2016. To view the resources available to learn about the latest data collection, please see the bottom of this page or visit the home page of the PIAAC Gateway.  

First Round of Data Collection in the United States

The first round of data collection in the United States (the U.S. PIAAC Main Study) was conducted from August 2011 through April 2012 with a nationally representative household sample of 5,000 adults between the ages of 16 and 65. Similar samples of adults were surveyed in each of 23 other participating countries in 2008–13 (the Round 1 countries in the table below) and in nine additional countries in 2012–16 (the Round 2 countries). In 2016–19, an additional six countries are administering PIAAC (the Round 3 countries).

Round 1 (2008–13) Round 2 (2012–16) Round 3 (2016–19)
Czech Republic
Korea (Republic of)
Russian Federation
Slovak Republic
UK - England
UK - Northern Ireland
United States
New Zealand

Second Round of Data Collection in the United States

NCES conducted a second round of data collection in the U.S. in 2013-14 to gain more information about young adults and unemployed individuals, as well as expand the sample to include individuals aged 66-74 and adult inmates. The additional data can be combined with the first round data from 2012 for analysis, but does not stand alone. The 2014 supplemental data is referred to as the U.S. National Supplement (or similar variations including the U.S. Supplement, the National Supplement, etc), though it was officially termed the National Supplement to the Main Study.

The U.S. National Supplement used the same procedures, instruments, and assessments as in the first round. It was administered to a sample of 3,660 U.S. adults in households in order to (a) enhance the U.S. PIAAC dataset by oversampling young adults (ages 16–34) and unemployed adults (ages 16–65) and (b) expand the sample to include older adults (ages 66–74). The expanded national sample (totaling about 8,700 adults living in households) supports more detailed national estimates for these subgroups and, in the case of older adults, supports estimates for new groups not represented in the first round of PIAAC.

The National Supplement also included the U.S. PIAAC Prison Study, which was administered from February through June 2014 to a sample of 1,300 adult inmates (ages 16–74) detained in federal, state, and private prisons in the United States. The U.S. Prison Study includes same direct assessments of literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments as those administered to the U.S. PIAAC household participants. However, the Prison Study’s background questionnaire was modified and tailored specifically to address the experiences and needs of this subgroup. For example, incarcerated adults were asked about activities in prison, such as participation in academic programs and ESL classes; experiences with prison jobs; and involvement in nonacademic programs, such as employment readiness classes.

Third Round of Data Collection in the United States 

The United States is currently collecting the third round of PIAAC data using the same procedures, instruments, and assessments as in the first and second rounds. The data from the third round will support analysis based on a nationally representative sample of adults 16-74 years of age for a second point in time, 2017. It will also be combined with the first- and second-round data to support, the calculation of state- and county-level estimates. The results are expected to be released in the fall of 2019.

Future PIAAC Data Collections

International PIAAC Cycle 2 Data Collection

In 2021, the next cycle of PIAAC will be conducted in the United States and more than 30 other countries. 

For more information on the PIAAC schedule, please visit the NCES PIAAC Schedule and Plans page.