Survey of adult skills

Updated: October 8, 2013

Next update: Not yet determined

Literacy skills at level 3

Selected tables and figures from this statistics

About the statistics

The statistics give an overview on literacy and numeracy skills in the population aged 16–65 years.

Literacy: The ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. Literacy encompasses a range of skills from the decoding of written words and sentences to the comprehension, interpretation and evaluation of complex texts. It does not, however, involve the production of text.

Numeracy: The ability to access, use, interpret and communicate mathematical information and ideas in order to engage in and manage the mathematical demands of a range of situations in adult life. To this end, numeracy involves managing a situation or solving a problem in a real context, by responding to mathematical content/information/ideas represented in multiple ways.

Problem solving in technology-rich environments: The ability to use digital technology, communication tools and networks to acquire and evaluate information, communicate with others and perform practical tasks. The assessment focuses on the abilities to solve problems for personal, work and civic purposes by setting up appropriate goals and plans, and accessing and making use of information through computers and computer networks.

Level of education is coded according to ISCED97.

Name: Survey of adult skills

Topic: Education

Not yet determined

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Whole country

PIAAC was conducted in Norway between August 2011 and April 2012. Similar surveys are planned approximately every ten years.

Data are delivered to OCED

The basic material (survey results from the interviewers) as well as the statistical files (on the basis of revision and estimation procedures) are stored. Micro data are delivered to OECD, NSD and the Nordic PIAAC database.

PIAAC is the largest international survey of adult skills ever conducted, and Round 1, with 24 participating countries, started the data collection for the main survey in 2011. The purpose of the survey is to collect comparable international data about the skills of the adult population in three domains: literacy, numeracy and problem solving in the context of a technology-rich environment. These skills are considered “key” information-processing skills.

In addition to being comparable across participation countries, results from PIAAC can in part be compared with results from two previous surveys: The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) from 1998 and The Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL) from 2003.

By providing the relevant authorities and other users with information about skills in the adult population, PIAAC contributes to the knowledge base for policy development both in Norway and at the international level. Key users include Ministries, international organisations, researchers, trade unions and media.

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The Statistics Act § 2-1

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PIAAC covers the adult population (aged 16 to 65), with the exception of persons living in institutions.

The target population for PIAAC were adults aged between 16 and 65. People without a place of residence and people living in institutions were excluded from the target population. The sample was stratified by age and educational level. Education was divided into four categories: lower secondary education and below, upper secondary education and higher education, as well as a separate category for missing. Age was divided into three groups: 16-29, 30-44 and 45-65.

The sample contained 8 506 people.

The data collection instrument consisted of two main parts. The interviewer would first ask the respondent questions from an extensive background questionnaire, and then the respondent was asked to take the assessment on either a computer or on paper.

The respondents had the options of being interviewed in their own home, in the offices of Statistics Norway or in another suitable location of their choice. Respondents were given gift certificates worth 500 NOK to participate in the survey.

The data collection period was August 2011 to April 2012.

All assessments were scored. Computer-based assessment were scored automatically, and paper-based assessments were scored by a scoring team at Statistics Norway.

Weighting and calibration was implemented according to the PIAAC Weighting and Variance Estimation Plan, which is described in more detail in the PIAAC Technical Report released by the OECD.

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Results from the Norwegian PIAAC are can be compared with results from the other 23 countries that have participated in the first round of the survey. PIAAC is partially a follow-up survey of IALS and ALL, and recalculation of the data material from the previous surveys have been implemented so that the results will be more comparable over time.

The estimates from PIAAC are based on a sample of individuals. Somewhat different results might have been obtained if a different sample or a complete cencus had been taken using the same questionnaire, assessments, interviewers, processing etc. as those actually used in the survey.

The response rate for Norway was 62 %.

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