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ERIC Number: ED577228
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Mar
Pages: 58
Abstractor: ERIC
Skills of U.S. Unemployed, Young, and Older Adults in Sharper Focus: Results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2012/2014. First Look. NCES 2016-039rev
Rampey, Bobby D.; Finnegan, Robert; Mohadjer, Leyla; Krenzke, Tom; Hogan, Jacquie; Provasnik, Stephen
National Center for Education Statistics
The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is a cyclical, large-scale study of adult skills and life experiences focusing on education and employment. Nationally representative samples of adults between the ages of 16 and 65 are administered an assessment of literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology rich environments, as well as survey questions about their educational background, work history, the skills they use on the job and at home, their civic engagement, and sense of their health and well-being. The results are used to compare participating countries on the skills capacities of their workforce-aged adults and to learn more about relationships between educational background and employment and other outcomes. PIAAC is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and developed by participating countries with the support of the OECD. PIAAC was first administered in 2011-12 in the United States and 23 other countries. The purpose of this report is to present selected results from the first and second rounds of the U.S. PIAAC household data collection (PIAAC 2012/2014). PIAAC results are reported in two ways: (1) as scale scores (estimated on a 0-500 scale) in the three domains of literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments; and (2) as percentages of adults reaching the proficiency levels established for each of these domains. PIAAC reports five proficiency levels for literacy and numeracy (Below level 1, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4/5) and four levels for problem solving in technology-rich environments (Below level 1, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3). The OECD provides detailed descriptions of the types of skills that can be performed at each level. For example, adults at Level 1 in literacy can "read relatively short…texts to locate a single piece of information that is identical to or synonymous with the information given in the question or directive" and can "enter personal information onto a document" when "[l]ittle, if any, competing information is present." However, adults at Level 1 typically are not successful performing skills at the higher levels (e.g., "compare and contrast or reason about information requested" or "navigate within digital texts to access and identify information from various parts of a document," both of which are Level 2 literacy skills). Appendix B provides the OECD's detailed descriptions of these levels along with examples of assessment items at each level. This report follows OECD reporting conventions by combining the top two proficiency levels (Levels 4 and 5) for the literacy and numeracy scales (OECD 2013). Across all countries, only 2 percent or less of adults performed at Level 5 in literacy and numeracy. This report also provides an international average for scale scores and proficiency levels for variables that are internationally comparable. The international averages in figures 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 represent the averages for all participating countries and regions shown in this report and may differ slightly from the international averages reported in the 2012 NCES "First Look."
National Center for Education Statistics. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Education Statistics (ED); Westat, Inc.
Identifiers - Location: United States; Japan; Finland; Netherlands; Sweden; Norway; Estonia; Belgium; Czech Republic; Slovakia; Canada; South Korea; United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Northern Ireland); Denmark; Germany; Austria; Cyprus; Poland; Ireland; France; Spain; Italy
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: ED04CO0059/0030|EDIES12C0072
IES Cited: ED575845