The PIAAC survey (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competences) is the largest international survey of the status and use of skills by adults aged 16 to 65 in history. Over the course of two rounds, it saw the participation of more than 200,000 adults from 33 countries from around the world, mostly OECD members (the third round began in 2016). It is part of the realisation of the OECD Skills Strategy adopted by the MCM in May 2012. It was conducted under the leadership of the PIAAC international consortium of 8 international organisations and was coordinated by the Princeton-based Educational Testing Service from the US.
Using comparable assignments, the PIAAC survey measures the development of skills and competences. The aim is to find out as much as possible about which activities related to reading, understanding and writing messages, use of the computer and other modern tools are used by adults in their everyday lives and how successful they are in doing so. The survey is therefore supposed to show “our current level of skill and competence as well as knowledge” and “how many of these skills are used by employers” or “how we could further develop these skills and abilities of the population” as well as “the success rate of the educational system” as compared to the needs on the labour market.
Because of the extensive and complex range of tools, it enables direct measurement and indirect analyses of skills in three areas:
- problem solving in technology-rich environments;
- literacy and
These three areas are the basis for the successful processing of information in this day and age. The complex range of tools also enables an indirect analysis of the use of cognitive skills, interactions and social skills, use of physical abilities and learning skills.
The survey is designed as a repetitive survey (5–10 years) and allows a comparison of the skills and competences between countries, and also measures how they change over individual time periods.
In Slovenia, which joined the second round of the survey as part of the project entitled Measurement of the Education and Training System Effectiveness for the Improvement of Adult Educator Qualifications 2013–2015, 5165 adults from all regions and aged 16 to 65 took part in the direct testing of selected competences.
The PIAAC survey in Slovenia represented only one part of the project, whereby the second part of the project in Slovenia encompasses studies and analytical applied results, e.g. recommendations for policy and new model planners. The project is of national importance for Slovenia, while PIAAC survey results are important for the planning of future policies in various fields.