PIAAC Cycle 1 Framework

Assessment or survey framework

Literacy assessment

Literacy is defined as the ability to understand, evaluate, use, and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.

Literacy encompasses a range of skills, from the decoding of written words and sentences to the comprehension, interpretation, and evaluation of complex texts. It does not, however, involve the production of text. Information on the skills of adults with low levels of proficiency is provided by an assessment of reading components that covers text vocabulary, sentence comprehension, and passage fluency.

  • Content dimension: Texts are characterized by their medium (print-based or digital) and by their format:
    • Continuous or prose texts
    • Non-continuous or document texts
    • Mixed texts
    • Multiple texts
  • Cognitive strategies dimension
    • Access and identify
    • Integrate and interpret (relating parts of text to one another)
    • Evaluate and reflect
  • Context dimension
    • Work-related
    • Personal
    • Society and community
    • Education and training


Numeracy assessment

Numeracy is defined as the ability to access, use, interpret, and communicate mathematical information and ideas in order to engage in and manage the mathematical demands of a range of situations in adult life. To this end, numeracy involves managing a situation or solving a problem in a real context, by responding to mathematical content, information, and ideas represented in multiple ways.

  • Content dimension: Mathematical content, information and ideas
    • Quantity and number
    • Dimension and shape
    • Pattern, relationships and change
    • Data and chance
  • Content dimension: Representations of mathematical information
    • Objects and pictures
    • Numbers and symbols
    • Visual displays (e.g., diagrams, maps, graphs, tables)
    • Texts
    • Technology-based displays
  • Cognitive strategies dimension
    • Identify, locate or access
    • Act upon and use (order, count, estimate, compute, measure, model)
    • Interpret, evaluate, and analyze
    • Communicate
  • Context dimension
    • Work-related
    • Personal
    • Society and community
    • Education and training


Problem solving in technology-rich environments assessment (optional)

Problem solving in technology-rich environments is defined as the ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and networks to acquire and evaluate information, communicate with others, and perform practical tasks. The assessment focuses on the abilities to solve problems for personal, work, and civic purposes by setting up appropriate goals and plans, and accessing and making use of information through computers and computer networks.

  • Content dimension: Technology
    • Hardware devices
    • Software applications
    • Commands and functions
    • Representations (e.g., text, graphics, video)
  • Content dimension: Tasks
    • Intrinsic complexity
    • Explicitness of the problem statement
  • Cognitive strategies dimension
    • Set goals and monitor progress
    • Plan
    • Acquire and evaluate information
    • Use information
  • Context dimension
    • Work-related
    • Personal
    • Society and community
Contextual or background framework

Basic demographic characteristics and background of the respondents

  • Demographic and social background: age, gender, country of birth, parents’ education, immigration status of the parents, etc.
  • Household and family structure: number of persons, marital status, children, living with a partner, etc.
  • Language background: first and second languages spoken, languages spoken at home, etc.
  • Immigration status: age at which respondent immigrated, first or second generation, etc.


Educational attainment and participation in formal or informal education

  • Educational experience: highest qualification, age at completion, field of study, currently studying, etc.
  • Formal and informal studies in the previous year: which kind, reason for undertaking, total time, barriers for undertaking, etc.


Labor-force status, working history, and job traits

  • Current activity: labor-force status
  • Current job or most recent job: industry, occupation, type of contract, wages, etc.
  • Work history: ever worked, had paid work in previous 12 months, had training, etc.


Social outcomes: Trust, political efficacy, volunteering, and health status.