The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is an international survey that measures the foundation skills of adults between 16 and 65 years of age. PIAAC will assess their literacy and numeracy skills and their ability to solve problems in technology-rich environments.
This assessment has been designed to determine what activities adults do in their daily lives, such as reading, finding information, and using computers and technology, and to learn about their education and work experience. This information will help provide a clear picture of the challenges adults face in each participating country in order to develop a more skilled work force in the 21st century.
PIAAC is a collaborative effort of member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
PIAAC is the most comprehensive survey of adult skills ever undertaken. There are 26 countries participating, including Canada. PIAAC in Canada is a collaborative effort between CMEC, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and other federal agencies and departments. Statistics Canada manages the implementation of the survey. PIAAC is being administered in Canada from November 1, 2011, until June 30, 2012.
All provinces and territories are participating, and approximately 25,000 Canadians are taking part in this assessment. The large sample size will allow reporting results for each province and territory, as well as for the Aboriginal, immigrant, and official-language minorities across the country. The 2011 Census was used for the general sample, while the National Household Survey was used for the Aboriginal and Immigrant supplementary samples.
Participants will respond to a two-hour assessment, which will focus on the key cognitive and workplace skills that are required for successful participation in the economy and society of the 21st century. PIAAC will also gather a broad range of contextual information. Participants will complete a background questionnaire about themselves, their education and training, their employment, and the skills they use at work.
The benefits of PIAAC
The information collected from PIAAC will be of importance to those responsible for a range of government programs and services, from education and training to regional economic development and public health. PIAAC will explore the links between skills and effectiveness of education, employability, wages, and health. It will also answer the following key questions:
- How effective are education and training systems in preparing Canadians for today's workplace?
- Are there clear differences among countries that point to better-performing education and training systems?
- How are Canada's education and training systems adapting in the face of changing skills demands?
- What are the training needs of Canada's workforce?
- How does Canada compare with other countries in the use of technology at work?
- Have foundation skills improved over time in line with changes in education and training systems?
- In our modern IT world, how important are computer and problem-solving skills? What other skills matter, and why?
- Which fields, industries, or occupations are investing the most in the skills of their workforce?
The results will be valid at the pan-Canadian and jurisdictional levels. No results will be attributed to individuals. The results from the international and Canadian reports will be released in October 2013.
For further information, please visit the OECD Web site.