Adult Skills in the Nordic Region

Key Information-Processing Skills Among Adults in the Nordic Region

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Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden participated in the first round of the International Survey of Adults’ Skills. The survey is a product of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey assessed the proficiency in literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving in technology-rich environments of adults aged 16–65. This publication is the product of the Nordic PIAAC Network, consisting of members from all five countries. It concentrates on the comparative results from four Nordic countries and Estonia, forming a Nordic region with many common features. It supplements the series of national and international PIAAC reports by comparing the results from five countries, as well as comparing an aggregate of these countries to other country aggregates. The results published in this book draw on a unique Nordic database, which the Nordic PIAAC Network has produced. The database consists of PIAAC assessment data and background information, supplemented by social, educational, and labour market register data from the five countries.




This report presents comparative results from PIAAC for Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The five countries are labelled Nordic countries in this report. PIAAC (The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult competences) is an OECD investigation of key information-processing skills in literacy (reading skills), numeracy (mathematical skills) and skills in problem-solving in technology-rich environments among populations aged 16–65 years in 24 countries. Representative samples in the countries were tested in 2011–2012. For most respondents, the testing took place in their homes on an interviewer’s computer. The skills are basic in the sense that a certain level of such skills is a precondition for being able to function in contemporary society (be it in any kind of education, in working life, and the labour market; in the family and other social contexts; and in relation to democratic institutions and welfare state services, such as health, income support, and care).


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