NCES has begun conducting a new international assessment of adult competencies in U.S. households. The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)—a cyclical, large-scale assessment under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—assesses and compares the basic skills and competencies of adults around the world. The assessment focuses on cognitive and workplace skills needed for successful participation in 21st-century society and the global economy. PIAAC measures:
PIAAC builds on knowledge and experiences gained from previous international adult assessments such as the International Adult Literacy Survey and the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey. It enhances and expands on these previous assessments' frameworks and, at the same time, improves upon their design and methodologies.
A minimum of 5,000 individuals between the ages of 16 and 65 in each of the 26 participating countries are expected to take the assessment's first administration, which is currently underway. PIAAC's initial results will be released in 2013. Data collection is being conducted in multiple languages in numerous countries. In the United States, the background questions will be in both English and Spanish; however, the assessment will be conducted in English only.
NCES conducts several international surveys and assessments. Information about these studies—including PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), and PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study)—and tools for data analysis can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international/.