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IES Grant

Title: Training Researchers to Use PIAAC to Further Multidisciplinary Research
Center: NCER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Gonzalez, Eugene Awardee: Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Program: Methods Training for Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/15 – 6/30/18) Award Amount: $918,743
Type: Training Award Number: R305B160020

Previous award number: R305B150034
Previous University Affiliation: Portland State University

Purpose: In order to help improve policy and practice for educating and training adults, we need a broad, multi-disciplinary field of trained researchers. This training program aimed to help develop such researchers by providing in-depth, hands-on training with the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) data. The PIAAC is a large, international assessment of adults (16- to 65-years old) that aims to assess and compare the basic skills and the broad range of competencies of adults around the world skills. The training used PIAAC data to build participants' knowledge of and ability to use the PIAAC's conceptual and measurement frameworks, survey and background questionnaire design, and analytic techniques. With this training, participants would be better prepared to conduct research relevant to policymakers, practitioners, and researchers interested in adult skills and outcomes.

Project Activities: The trainers offered six 3-day training workshops and two 1-day pre-conference workshops held at major discipline-specific conferences. About 160 researchers from the fields of adult education, labor economics, public health, criminology, and lifelong learning received training.  Of the participants, roughly 1/3 were doctoral students, 1/3 were university-based researchers or professors, and the remaining 1/3 were from research organizations, including state agencies. The 3-day workshops consisted of a mixture of lectures and hands-on activities, including opportunities to practice with the data set with support from the trainers, to pose questions as they arise during discussion, and to network with other researchers. (Materials from the trainings are available online at the ETS-hosted site until July 1, 2023, at which point they will be archived.) Trainers also provided a range of follow-up activities that included ongoing technical assistance to and collaboration among trainees. The training program culminated in a research conference where training participants presented their research work using the PIAAC data.

Key Outcomes:

  • Training participants produced 1 book chapter, 5 dissertations, 26 journal articles, 62 presentations (webinars, conference or lecture presentations, or posters), 2 policy briefs, 4 research reports, and 4 working or commissioned papers based off of work they did during their training.
  • The training created a YouTube playlist of recorded trainings.