The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is a household study conducted under the auspices of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to assess key cognitive and workplace skills needed for successful participation in 21st century society and the global economy.

PIAAC directly assesses cognitive skills in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. PIAAC’s extensive background questionnaire provides information about a number of other skills and personal traits that are important for success in the 21st century global economy. Findings from PIAAC will help describe the relationship between the cognitive domains assessed and a number of key indicators, including demographic characteristics, educational attainment, employment status, and skills used at work and at home.

In the United States, the study was funded and conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2011-2012 with a nationally representative sample of 5,000 adults between the ages of 16 and 65.  Similar samples of adults were surveyed in each of the 23 other participating countries (see Round 1 table below).

From August 2013 through June 2014, the United States collected an additional sample of 5,000 adults to supplement the original PIAAC sample. This supplement focused on:

  •    unemployed adults (ages 16–65),
  •    young adults (ages 16–34),
  •    older adults (ages 66–74), and
  •    incarcerated adults (aged 16-74).

In 2016, nine additional countries will administer the PIAAC assessment (see Round 2 table below).

PIAAC Participating Countries

PIAAC Participating Countries