Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) resources

PIAAC is the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, also known as The International Survey of Adult Skills. PIAAC measures adults’ skills in:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Problem-solving in technology-rich environments

PIAAC gathers background data on education, employment, skills and qualifications required for work and used at home. This enables us to explore relationships between skills, education and employment, controlling for linguistic and socio-demographic factors.

New 2019 report: Survey of Adult Skills - Regional profiles

The Ministry of Education has developed a visual tool that shows regional distributions of literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills. The tool also includes information on related variables, namely: qualification levels, use of ICT at work and having English as a first language. The last variable is important as the Survey of Adult Skills only tests skills in English. It shows that the region with the lowest skills is South and East Auckland, while Wellington has the highest skills. The low skill levels in South and East Auckland is largely driven by the high proportion of the population for whom English is not a first language. The higher skills in Wellington are largely related to qualification levels and a higher proportion of jobs requiring ICT use. Wellington is similar to North and Central Auckland on both of these variables. However, North and Central Auckland has a higher proportion of the population for whom English is not a first language.

New 2019 report: Comparing literacy and numeracy scales in the Assessment Tool and Survey of Adult Skills

This report is intended to help educators and researchers using the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool understand the extent to which results from the Assessment Tool can be compared with the results from the Survey of Adult Skills.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: March 2019

PIAAC presentations

Skills Highway and the Industry Training Federation, in conjunction with The National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults and the Ministry of Education, has developed some presentations that set out the PIAAC findings in an easily accessible way.

Download presentations on the following topics:

For more information visit the Ministry of Education's Education Counts website: