Assessment frameworks

  • Literacy, Numeracy and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments – Framework for the OECD Survey of Adult Skills, 2012
    (PDF/OECD iLibrary) – 2012

    A basic level of literacy and numeracy is essential for full participation in modern societies. While very few people in most of the advanced countries could be regarded as illiterate or innumerate, recent studies have shown that there are, in fact, significant numbers of people with poor skills, and that low levels of skills are associated with lower wages and greater chances of unemployment and disengagement from the labour market. This report maps the development of the program, from determining what should be measured, to defining the meaning of PIAAC’s three core domains—literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments—to designing assessment tasks and determining how those tasks will be interpreted. It summarizes the draft frameworks developed by dedicated experts for each of the assessment domains and includes examples of the items and stimuli used to measure proficiency in the three domains. In essence, it provides an overview and a look at the underpinnings of PIAAC.

  •  Framework by domain:

Background questionnaire

The PIAAC background questionnaire includes a range of information regarding the factors which influence the development and maintenance of skills, such as education; social background; engagement with literacy; numeracy, and ICT language; as well as information on outcomes that may be related to skills. Information is collected on the current activity of respondents, employment status, and income. In terms of non-economic outcomes, the survey includes questions on health status, volunteering, political efficacy, and social trust.

  • Canadian Background Questionnaire
    •  View the Canadian Background questionnaire (html).
    • Download the Canadian Background questionnaire with routing specifications (PDF).

  • International Master Questionnaire

    • View or download the International Master Questionnaire (html/PDF) or visit
    • View or download Complementary information from the Background Questionnaire (PDF)
    • View or download the PIAAC Conceptual Framework of the Background Questionnaire Main Survey (PDF). This paper provides an overview of the conceptual framework developed for the PIAAC background questionnaire and, where relevant, includes the items that have been included in the questionnaire.

International reports, national reports

To access other countries’ reports or browse a selection of OECD country notes, national reports, and interactive country profiles, please click here.

Additional data

For more information on PIAAC data and methodology, and to access Canadian PIAAC data, please visit Statistics Canada’s PIAAC page here.

To explore the full data sets and questionnaires, please click here.

To create an interactive data profile for your country, please click here.

For more information and to access all of the OECD’s resources on data, please click here.

For more information on PIAAC, and if you have questions, please e-mail us at