Executive summary

This publication contains the frameworks for the assessment of literacy, numeracy and adaptive problem solving in the second cycle of the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC Cycle 2).

The assessment frameworks represent key documents for understanding what is measured by PIAAC and for interpreting its results.

The introductory chapter provides an overview of the PIAAC assessment and its relationship to previous international assessments of adult skills. It also describes the purpose of the assessment frameworks and the evolution of the concepts of literacy, numeracy and problem solving since the first international assessment of adult literacy was conducted in the mid-1990s as well as the relationship of PIAAC to the OECD’s assessment of 15-year-old school students, PISA.

The individual frameworks are presented in separate chapters: literacy (Chapter 2), numeracy (Chapter 3) and adaptive problem solving (Chapter 4). They define the particular skills assessed, describe their salient features, outline a recommended approach to the assessment of the skill and identify other matters relevant to test development. The similarities and differences with the frameworks of previous assessments are outlined with a focus on the social, theoretical and measurement considerations that have contributed to the development of the frameworks over time.


This work is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD. The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of OECD member countries.

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

Note by Turkey
The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.

Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union
The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

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