New Basic Skills Data Tool

by Michelle Massie
June 13, 2014

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently revealed a new web-based interactive portal that allows users, including researchers, practitioners and policymakers to build customizable data tables using data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). 

The tool, called the PIAAC Results Portal, allows users to compare basic skills of adults in the United States to adults in other participating countries and to international average scores and proficiency levels in numeracy, literacy and problem solving. 

The PIAAC Results Portal supplements the information available in NCES’s report—Literacy, Numeracy, and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments Among U.S. Adults: Results From the Program for the Assessment of Adult Competencies 2012—and is designed to enable users to create their own data tables.

Results can be grouped in various ways, including by employment status, educational attainment and civic participation.

As part of PIAAC, the OECD collects and analyzes data that assist governments in measuring, monitoring and evaluating the level and distribution of skills among their adult populations.

Last fall, OECD released its inaugural edition of the OECD Skills Outlook, which reported the results of the first round of the Survey of Adult Skills, produced by the PIAAC. The survey assessed reading, numeracy and problem-solving skills of 16 to 65 year old adults in 24 developed nations.

The survey showed that the U.S. lagged behind several countries in literacy, math and technical skills, scoring below the international average and far below the top performers—Japan and Finland. U.S. test-takers with graduate and professional degrees scored above the international average in literacy but below in math and problem-solving.