What’s New

Updated U.S. PIAAC Technical Report and 2012/2014 Data Files          

On September 14, NCES posted on its website the updated U.S. PIAAC technical report—the U.S. Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2012/2014: Main Study and National Supplement Technical Report—and the combined 2012/2014 data files for both public use and restricted use. The files and report can be accessed at https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/getpubcats.asp?sid=113  

Young Adult Snapshot

A new data snapshot has been posted to the NCES website. The snapshot uses U.S. 2012/2014 PIAAC data to explore the performance of U.S. young adults (ages 16-24) on the literacy and numeracy assessments by education and work status. Check out the data snapshot: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international/reports/2014-piaac-neets.asp

U.S. Update

U.S. PIAAC National Supplement Release Activities and Timeline     

 In 2013–14, NCES conducted a second round of data collection in the United States to enhance the U.S. PIAAC dataset. The U.S. National Supplement oversampled 3,600 adults living in households from three key subgroups of policy interest and added 1,200 incarcerated adults in federal and state prisons. The three key household subgroups that were oversampled were unemployed adults, young adults (ages 16–34), and older adults (ages 66–74). The expanded national household sample (8,600 adults, combining the first and second rounds) supports more accurate and reliable national estimates of unemployed and young adults and makes possible analyses of older adults. 

The following products and tools related to the U.S. National Supplement will be available in the coming months. Note that some release dates have been updated since the last edition of the Buzz:
•    the PIAAC 2014 Prison Study report (November 2016)
•    the PIAAC 2014 Prison Study public-use and restricted-use data files (November 2016)
•    an updated NCES International Data Explorer (IDE) that includes the combined PIAAC 2012/2014 household data and prison data (November 2016)
•    an updated PIAAC Results Portal with prison data (November 2016)
•    a report that focuses on how skill levels are associated with employment and education status among U.S. young adults (ages 16–34) (winter 2017)

For more information, visit the NCES PIAAC website.

New PIAAC Research Papers 

Did you miss the 2015 PIAAC Research Conference? Want to share the papers presented at that conference with colleagues? Five PIAAC research papers, commissioned by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2015, have been posted to the PIAAC Gateway and are available for download. Visit http://piaacgateway.com/us-piaac-conference-2015. The papers include:
  • Education and Work in the 21st Century: Credential Inflation or Transformation? (Frank Fernandez and Mark Umbricht, Pennsylvania State University)
  • Social Background and Numeracy Skill Levels Among College Graduates: Social Mobility or Social Reproduction? (Karly Ford and Mark Umbricht, Pennslyvania State University)
  • Literacy and Numeracy Skills of Second-Generation Young Adults: A Comparative Study of Canada, France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. (Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix, Migration Policy Institute)
  • Reconstructing the Evolution of the American Supply of Cognitive Skills: A Synthetic Cohort Analysis (Marilyn Binkley and T. Scott Murray, DataAngel Policy Research; Richard Shillington, Tristat Resources)
  • Earnings and Employment Benefits of Adult Higher Education in Comparative Perspective: Evidence Based on the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) (Richard Desjardins, University of California Los Angeles)

Results From PIAAC Round 2 Countries Released

On June 28, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released Skills Matter: Further Results From the Survey of Adult Skills, which reports initial results and data from nine additional countries that participated in Round 2 of PIAAC in 2014–15: Chile, Greece, Indonesia (Jakarta), Israel, Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia, and Turkey. Like earlier PIAAC reports, this one describes adult proficiency in the three information-processing skills assessed, examines the relationship between skills proficiency and labor market and social outcomes, and summarizes results from the 24 countries and regions that participated in Round 1 of the survey in 2011–12 (as well as those that participated in Round 2 in 2014–15). Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at the OECD, has also recorded a webinar providing an overview of results from this report. Two blog posts on the results, Why skills matter and The Survey of Adult Skills: Nine more countries added on, have also been posted by the OECD.

The OECD has also released or updated several additional PIAAC-related publications and data products. These include The Survey of Adult Skills: Reader’s Companion, Second Edition, which describes the design and methodology of the survey and its relationship to other international assessments of young students and adults. Public-use files for the nine Round 2 countries, and revised public-use files for Round 1 countries with updated data (including the rescaling of the skills use indices and the recalculation of the derived earning variables), have been made available on the OECD PIAAC public data and analysis page. The OECD International Data Explorer has also been updated with data from the Round 2 countries.

Did You Know?

Roughly half of unemployed U.S. adults ages 16–65 with a high school credential or less education performed at PIAAC’s lowest proficiency level—Level 1 or below—in numeracy. Read the updated PIAAC First Look report to learn more.


Press Corner

IsraelIsraelis rank low on basic reading, math skills: OECD report (i24news, June 28, 2016)

New Zealand – New study finds when Kiwis are at their smartest (NZ Herald, June 28, 2016)

SingaporeSingapore leads the way for workplace skills (BBC News, June 28, 2016)

South KoreaKorea Estimated to Have Lowest Number of Robot-Replaceable Jobs (The Korea Bizwire, May 31, 2016)

TurkeyTurkish adults score low in literacy, numeracy, problem-solving: OECD (Hurriyet Daily News, June 29, 2016)

OECDMore on the Survey of Adults Skills: The outcome of investment in skills (OECD Skills and Work, July 15, 2016)

Visit the PIAAC Gateway Pressroom to view more news articles.



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