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International Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Surveys in the OECD Region


  • William Thorn



Both within and beyond the OECD region, governments and other stakeholders are increasingly interested in the assessments of the skills of their adult populations in order to monitor how well prepared they are for the challenges of the knowledge based society. The current paper provides an overview of the two international assessments of adult literacy which have already taken place in the OECD region – the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL) as well as of the forthcoming OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). The conceptual framework for the assessments is described with a focus on the links between the different assessments. In addition, the paper provides a survey of the outputs of IALS and ALL including a review of the major themes addressed in the literature which has used data from these surveys as well as a brief discussion of their policy impact. Au sein et au-delà de la région OCDE, les gouvernements et les autres parties prenantes sont de plus en plus intéréssés par l’évaluation des compétences de leur population adulte afin de vérifier s’ils sont bien préparés ou non aux défis de la société basée sur la connaissance. Le présent document fournit un aperçu de deux évaluations internationales sur l’alphabétisation des adultes qui ont été effectuées dans la région OCDE : l’Enquête internationale sur l’alphabétisation des adultes (EIAA) et l’Enquête sur la littératie et les compétences des adultes (ELCA) ainsi que le Programme, prochainement disponible, pour l’évaluation internationale des compétences des adultes (PIAAC). La structure conceptuelle des évaluations est décrite comme étant centrée sur les liens entre les différentes évaluations. De plus, le document fournit une enquête sur les résultats de l’EIAA et l’ELCA. Cette dernière comprend une vue d’ensemble des thèmes majeurs de l’alphabétisation et ce, en utilisant les données de ces enquêtes ainsi qu’un bref débat sur l’impact de leur politique.

Suggested Citation

  • William Thorn, 2009. "International Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Surveys in the OECD Region," OECD Education Working Papers 26, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:eduaab:26-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Allen Jim & Velden Rolf van der, 2012. "Skills for the 21st Century: Implications for Education," Research Memorandum 044, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    2. Richard Desjardins & Arne Jonas Warnke, 2012. "Ageing and Skills: A Review and Analysis of Skill Gain and Skill Loss Over the Lifespan and Over Time," OECD Education Working Papers 72, OECD Publishing.

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