The PIAAC Programme follows on from two international surveys already promoted by the OECD on the question of basic competencies possessed by adults and viewed as essential for individuals playing an active part in work, society and daily life.
The aim of these surveys, like that of PIAAC, is to evaluate people’s cultural profiles, study the conditions in which competencies are acquired and/or lost and how competencies have effects on social inclusion or exclusion processes.
International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS): conducted from 1994 to 1996 and then in 1998, this survey directly measured, for the first time, the literacy skills of the adult population (16-65 years) in 21 countries; reports on the various cycles are available by clicking here.
Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL): active from 2002 to 2005 in 7 countries and a further 4 countries between 2006 and 2007, ALL extended the survey to competencies relating to the use of formalised languages, reasoning skills and problem solving and to the ability to interact effectively in the workplace and in the reference social groups. Reports on the various cycles are available by clicking here.
In Italy the IALS and ALL investigations were carried out by INVALSI.
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA): since 2000, the OECD has also promoted the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) every three years) which measures the competencies of 15-year-old students in OECD member countries and in other partner countries (80 countries in all). The competencies assessed refer to three areas – reading, mathematics, sciences – and each survey focuses on one of these areas. Tests are currently conducted only in a digital format, and are designed to simulate real-world problems or situations in the adult world.
Italian reports on the various PISA cycles carried out by INVALSI are available here.
INVALSI national tests
For Italy the INVALSI Institute carries out INVALSI national tests. They are standardised written tests performed every year by all Italian students of the classes specified by legislation, which includes primary and lower and upper secondary school classes. The tests are performed on paper and PC, and seek to gauge the learning level of students in the following areas: Italian, mathematics and English. The results of these tests provide indications for assessments of classes, schools and education at a regional and national level.
Since 2018, some schools have carried out these tests only on computers.
To consult the INVALSI reports, click here
To access the official INVALSI test area website, click here.
The TECO – ANVUR project
In 2012 ANVUR (National Agency for the Evaluation of the University System and Research) launched the TECO (TEsts on Competencies) project, an integral part of the Self-Assessment, Periodical Assessment, Accreditation (AVA) system.
In the same way as international studies such as PIAAC, TECO aims to assess students’ competencies in relation to the effectiveness of university teaching and its outcomes, including labour market inclusion. TECO measures, using PCs, Literacy and Numeracy cognitive skills and other areas currently being developed, including Civics, Problem Solving and Foreign Languages (English).
In 2016 a pilot survey was conducted; this was followed by annual surveys. In 2017 a total of 1,759 students enrolled in the 1st and 3rd year courses in five Italian universities (Bari, Bologna, Florence, Milan-Bicocca, Palermo) were involved. These surveys entail various types of tests that can assess the transversal (TECO-T) and disciplinary (TECO-D) competencies acquired by university students during the three-year course.
TECO is the first Italian initiative to measure the skills of university students, and has aroused considerable overseas interest.