Two main survey tools were used, both conceived by the OECD and later translated and adapted to the Italian context by the national team: a questionnaire (Background Questionnaire – BQ) and cognitive tests.
The Background Questionnaire was administered by the interviewer using a computer. The tests performed by interviewees were carried out on the computer by people with sufficient IT skills, or alternatively on paper by people with insufficient IT skills.
The BQ collected relevant information on numerous aspects of personal and working life, including:
- social and personal background;
- educational history;
- training carried out during working life;
- current employment status;
- previous professional history;
- social attitudes;
- information on family context.
A specific section of the BQ, based on the Job Requirements Approach (JRA), was devoted to gathering information on the competencies used by individuals when carrying out their work activities.
Literacy and Numeracy Cognitive tests
The cognitive tests in the first PIAAC cycle in Italy related to the spheres of Literacy and Numeracy.
Literacy is defined as 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.
Numeracy is defined as 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.
In Cycle I of the Survey Italy, together with other countries, also used tests concerning Reading Components, tests that gauge basic reading skills. This is one of PIAAC‘s innovations compared with previous studies.
This optional module is aimed at adults with low literacy levels.