ETS to Manage International Survey of Adults' Skills
- Tom Ewing
- Tom Ewing
Princeton, N.J. (October 24, 2008) —
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has contracted with Educational Testing Service (ETS) to manage the consortium responsible for the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). The five-year study will examine 21st-century skills of adults in more than two dozen countries.
The survey assessment will measure the literacy and numeracy skills of people between the ages of 16 and 65. It also will look at how well these individuals solve problems in technology-rich environments.
"This is the largest comparative international assessment of this type ever conducted," says Irwin Kirsch, Director of ETS's Center for Global Assessment. "PIAAC will build on the work of previous national and international adult surveys, but provide a far more complete picture of human capital than has ever been available to policymakers in participating countries."
Kirsch also notes that most PIAAC participants in each country will take the assessment on a computer, and that the assessment will have an adaptive design, allowing researchers to achieve accurate results with fewer questions than would be necessary in a paper-and-pencil format. No large-scale assessment survey of this kind has ever used this design before, Kirsch says.
"PIAAC is a very important project, directly relevant to policy agendas concerning productivity, competitiveness and social inclusion," says Andreas Schleicher, head of the PIAAC project at the OECD. "It is an ambitious and innovative assessment that will provide much-needed information about the skills of adults in the advanced economies. The OECD and participating countries are pleased to be working with ETS and its partners to make PIAAC a reality."
The OECD commissioned the assessment as a way of investigating the link between skills and outcomes in educational, social and labor-market contexts. Specifically, the OECD expects that PIAAC will accomplish several goals:
- Provide policymakers in each participating country with a profile of their country’s adult population in terms of the knowledge, skills and competencies thought to underlie personal and societal success
- Assess the relationship between these competencies and various social, educational and economic outcomes
- Gauge how successful education and training systems are at generating these outcomes
- Help to identify the factors policymakers could address to enhance these competencies
The other organizations in the consortium led by ETS are: Westat, cApStAn, the University of Maastricht, Gesis-ZUMA, the German Institute for International Education Research and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.
"ETS is very excited to be working with a team of highly skilled partners on such a new and innovative assessment of skills," says Ida Lawrence, ETS Senior Vice President for Research & Development. "We are committed to working with the OECD and the participating countries to design and implement what we hope will become a multicycle survey of human capital."
PIAAC is open to all OECD member countries. Twenty-six countries have agreed to participate in PIAAC. They are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
ETS is a nonprofit institution with the mission to advance quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research and related services for all people worldwide. In serving individuals, educational institutions and government agencies around the world, ETS customizes solutions to meet the need for teacher professional development products and services, classroom and end-of-course assessments, and research-based teaching and learning tools. Founded in 1947, ETS today develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. Additional information is available at www.ets.org.