Literacy, Numeracy and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments

Literacy, Numeracy and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments

Framework for the OECD Survey of Adult Skills You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
15 Feb 2012
Pages :
80
ISBN :
9789264128859 (PDF) ; 9789264128804 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264128859-en

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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. At the same time, technological changes, particularly the increasing presence of information and communication technologies in all areas of life, have led to a growing demand for higher-level cognitive skills that involve understanding, interpreting, analysing and communicating complex information.

In this context, policy makers need the most comprehensive and up-to-date information if they want to ensure that the supply of skills in the labour force matches labour-market demand. The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), an international assessment of adult skills managed by the OECD, will be central in providing that information. Implemented by 25 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia, PIAAC is compiling one of the richest sources of data regarding the skills that adults use in their work, home and communities, and related information, including family background, education, employment, income, civic participation and health. Results from the data, which are being collected from August 2011 to March 2012, will be available at the end of 2013.

This report maps the development of the Programme, 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 summarises 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.

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    Foreword
    The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC ) is an international assessment of adult skills managed by the OECD which is currently being implemented by 25 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia. PIAAC will provide one of the richest sources of data regarding the foundation skills of adults, the skills that they use in work and other contexts and correlates of skills such as demographic characteristic, family background, education, employment, income and outcomes such as civic participation and health.
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    Introduction
    The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC ) is a global assessment of adult skills, managed by the OECD and implemented by 25 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Data are being collected from August 2011 to March 2012 and results will be available at the end of 2013.
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    Why Assess the Skills of Adults?
    This chapter examines the context in which PIAAC was developed, including fundamental changes in the demand for skills, the liabilities associated with having a low level of skills, particularly in increasingly knowledge-based societies, and the need for comprehensive data on the level and distribution of skills among adults.
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    Some Design Features of PIAAC
    PIAAC is linked with two international surveys of adult skills: the International Adult Literacy Survey and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey. This chapter describes how PIAAC extends the scope of measurement beyond the skills examined in the other two surveys to include those skills relevant to the digital age, particularly in the domains of literacy and problem solving.
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    Literacy and Reading Components
    This chapter defines PIAAC’s concept of literacy as understanding, evaluating, using and engaging with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. It describes the characteristics and aspects of the PIAAC literacy tasks and explores factors affecting task difficulty and the distribution of the test items. Sample items in both literacy and reading components are provided.
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    Numeracy
    This chapter defines PIAAC’s concept of numeracy 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. It describes the principles applied for assessing numeracy in PIAAC and the distribution of the numeracy-assessment items by task characteristics. Sample numeracy items are also provided.
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    Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments
    This chapter defines PIAAC’s concept of problem solving in technology-rich environments, including the specific kinds of problems people confront when using information and communication technologies. Sample items to measure adults’ ability to solve problems in technology-rich environments are provided.
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    Members of the Subject Matter Expert Groups
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