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Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)

The Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is international programme of assessment of adult skills and competencies conducted across many countries to compare adults’ capabilities in everyday tasks involving literacy and numeracy. The project is led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and is carried out on a ten-year cycle.

The pilot survey for the 2021-22 round of PIAAC was due to take place in April 2020 but was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall timetable for Ireland’s participation in the 2021-22 round of PIAAC has been reviewed and is due to commence in September 2022.

 PIAAC aims at measuring adults’ skills in literacy, numeracy and adaptive problem solving.

  • It relates performances to a wide range of factors including education history, social background and work environment.
  • The data from PIAAC can be used to develop strategies to address adult competencies that would be benchmarked between countries. These competencies are believed to underlie both personal and societal success.
  • The performances of education and training systems can also be gauged, and policies enhanced for improved competitiveness.
  • PIAAC measures relationships between individuals’ educational background, workplace experiences, occupational attainment, use of information, communications technology and cognitive skills in the areas of literacy, numeracy and adaptive problem-solving.

The main study of PIAAC cycle 2 will begin in September 2022

Approximately 5,000 individuals between the ages of 16 and 65 in each of the 32 participating countries will partake in the study. This study will be repeated every ten years to provide a comparative analysis of skill-formation systems and their outcomes.

PIAAC Cycle 2 is being undertaken in Ireland by the CSO during 2022 and 2023 at the request of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, after the original 2021-22 timetable was impacted by COVID-19. This study was previously conducted in Ireland in 2012.

PIAAC Cycle 2 ensures continuity on the work of previous studies including PIAAC Cycle 1 in 2012, the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) between 1994 and 1998 and the Adult Literacy and Life skills (ALL) Study from 2002 to 2006.


Results of PIAAC Cycle 2 are expected in 2024 when national and international reports on the study will be published. Results from the previous PIAAC study can be found on the Previous Releases page.

Learn more about PIAAC Cycle 2


Learn more about the PIAAC study, why it is carried out, which countries participate internationally, what's new in cycle 2 and more. Read more about PIAAC...

PIAAC process

Learn about how PIAAC measures adult skills and competencies and how the data from this study is used to support policy decision-making. Read more about the PIAAC process...

Supporting organisations 

A number of organisations endorse PIAAC and encourage household participation in this survey. Learn more about supporting organisations...

Information for respondents

Find copies of the literature distributed to households as well as examples of the questions asked in the study. Visit the Information for respondents page…

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for PIAAC respondents are also available. 

Additional information about PIAAC

If you would like to read more about PIAAC from the OECD and in the 2012 report, please visit the links below.

OECD PIAAC homepage

OECD PIAAC Documents

PIAAC 2012 Report for Ireland