Starting Somewhere, Sharing Everywhere.

Essential Skill 1:  Reading Text  

Reading sentences or paragraphs. For example: notes, letters, emails, magazines, manuals, regulations, books, reports, product labels, legal agreements. Includes words on paper and words on a screen.

Essential Skill 2:  Document Use

Understanding visual images such as graphs, lists, tables, drawings, symbols, signs, maps, labels, forms, x-rays. The visual display or arrangement gives meaning to the content.

Essential Skill 3:  Numeracy  

Using numbers and being able to think in terms of “amounts”. For example: Money math, Scheduling or budgeting/accounting, Measurement/calculation, Data analysis, and Estimation may require solving problems by using numbers.

Essential Skill 4:  Writing   

Writing words to share ideas. For example: Writing notes, emails, letters, reports, orders, logbook entries, text messages. Includes “pen and paper” writing and keyboarding.

Essential Skill 5:  Oral Communication

Speaking and listening to share thoughts or information. For example: greeting, telling stories, giving advice, sharing ideas, facilitating, coordinating tasks, explaining, discussing. Can be face-to-face, or using technology.

Essential Skill 6:  Working With Others

Interacting with family, friends, community members, students and co-workers to accomplish tasks together.

Essential Skill 7:  Thinking Skills

Using your brain to: Solve problems, Make decisions, Think critically, Plan and organize tasks, Remember and Find information


Essential Skill 8:  Digital Technology

Using technology. For example: computers, cell phones, GPs, digital cameras, iPods, and MP3s, gaming devices, computerized cash registers, Blackberries, iPhones. Includes using the Internet and email.

Essential Skill 9:  Continuous Learning

Gaining skills and knowledge throughout life. Includes: Learning how to learn, Understanding your learning style, Knowing how to find resources and learning opportunities.

PIAAC – Description

The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is a multi-cycle international programme of assessment of adult skills and competencies initiated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It aims to collect the information of residents from 27 countries, including Canada.

The survey will focus on the Key cognitive and workplace skills that are required for successful participation in the economy and society of the 21st century. The pilot project was administered in 2010 and, the actual survey will be administered for the first time in 2011.

The survey will also collect information on skills required in the workplace, participants’ educational backgrounds and professional attainments, and their ability to use information and communications technology. In addition, PIAAC includes an assessment of cognitive skills to measure participants’ general levels of literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology rich environments.

PIAAC has evolved from two previous international literacy surveys: the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), conducted between 1994 and 1998, and the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL), conducted between 2002 and 2006. With the first round of data collection, PIAAC seeks to ensure continuity with these previous surveys, to provide information regarding change in the distribution of skills over the years since the previous survey, to extend the concept of literacy and numeracy to problem solving in technology-rich environments and to provide more information about individuals with low levels of competency by assessing reading component skills.

Users of the data include federal and provincial governments, academics, literacy and skills development professionals, media and interested members of the public. The data are used to inform policy decisions, help effectively allocate resources where needed and inform decisions on the composition and content of remedial skill development course and adult education.

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