What is PIAAC?

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PIAAC is the largest international survey on adults’ basic skills and the use of these skills at work and in daily life. There are 32 countries or economies involved in PIAAC Cycle 2, an international study initiated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD. The Cycle 2 is a continuation of PIAAC Cycle 1, conducted in 2011-2017 with 38 participating countries or economies altogether.

The study assesses the various basic skills needed by the adult population in different walks of life, as well as their application to work and everyday living. Literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills form the key focus areas of the study. Competence assessments are based on computerized tasks. The study also provides information on education among adults, their activities as citizens and in working life, and the way in which these factors affect their social and economic well-being. The match between adults' skills and workplace requirements are of particular interest.

In Finland, the study will be implemented through co-operation between the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä and Statistics Finland. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment are the national funders of the study. In addition, the Finnish National Agency of Education will participate in programme steering.

The study will generate information promoting adult skills development

The study will generate valuable information on the skills and activities of the adult population in the participating countries for the use of educators, decision makers and researchers, for example. The results can be utilised in the preparation of various educational and employment-related policy measures, as well as in developing the skills and competencies of adults. Through these actions, the prerequisites for success can also be guaranteed in the future. Information collected in Finland will be compared to that obtained from other participating countries.

Interviewees chosen through random sampling

For the results of the study to be internationally commensurable, a sufficient number of interviews must be conducted in every country. In the first cycle there were more than 5,400 respondents in the Finnish data. In the second cycle, 8,400 individuals are sampled in Finland. Participants in the study will be chosen from the entire adult population of Finland through stratified random sampling. Interviewers from Statistics Finland will contact the selected interviewees and agree on the practicalities of the interviews. The face-to-face interviews will be conducted in a tranquil environment, such as the interviewee’s home. Areas such as education, employment, and skills utilisation are covered in the first section of the interview. The second section includes tasks performed with computers or on paper, similar to the tasks adults encounter in their everyday lives.


The background questionnaire gathers data on e.g. the respondents’ education and work experience and also asks them to estimate the needs for and use of cognitive, ICT related, social and learning skills.

On the basis of the collected data, the survey seeks answers to the following questions, for example:

  • Do the basic skills of the adult population meet the standards required for success at work and in daily life in today’s knowledge society?
  • How are these skills related to social and economic well-being?
  • How well does education succeed in providing these skills?