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4228.0 - Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-2012 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/02/2013   
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PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

The following commentary presents preliminary data for the 2011-2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Respondents to this survey completed tasks designed to assess their skills in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. Scores for each skill were derived on a scale ranging from 0 to 500 points before being grouped into levels. Only results for literacy and numeracy are available at the time of publication.

For literacy and numeracy, proficiency scores have been grouped into five skill levels with Level 1 being the lowest level. For a full description of the skill levels, refer to the appendix titled Scores and skill levels. The relatively small proportions of respondents who actually reach Level 5 often results in unreliable estimates of the number of people at this level. For this reason, whenever results are presented by skill level for literacy and numeracy, Levels 4 and 5 are combined.

Please note that data previously released in the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS) and Survey of Aspects of Literacy (SAL) publications are not directly comparable with PIAAC data. For further information refer to the Data Comparability section of the Explanatory Notes.


PRELIMINARY DATA - SKILL LEVELS IN LITERACY AND NUMERACY

Approximately 7.3 million (44%) Australians aged 15 to 74 years had literacy skills at Levels 1 or 2, a further 6.4 million (39%) at Level 3 and 2.7 million (17%) at Level 4/5. For the numeracy scale, approximately 8.9 million (55%) Australians were assessed at Level 1 or 2, 5.3 million (32%) at Level 3 and 2.1 million (13%) at Level 4/5.

Proportion at each skill level, literacy and numeracy
Graph: Proportion at each skill level, literacy and numeracy


PRELIMINARY DATA - STATE AND TERRITORY OF USUAL RESIDENCE

Results for literacy and numeracy across all states and territories showed similar proportions to that of Australia as a whole for most levels. For numeracy, the Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest proportion at Level 4/5 (23%).


PRELIMINARY DATA - AGE

The proportions of people at Level 1 are higher among the oldest age groups (people aged 60 years and older) than in the younger age groups (people aged 15 to 29 years) for both literacy and numeracy skills.


Proportion at each literacy level, By age group
Graph: Proportion at each literacy level, by age group


Proportion at each numeracy level, By age group
Graph: Proportion at each numeracy level, by age group


PRELIMINARY DATA - SEX

There was little difference in the proportion of males and females at each level of the literacy scale, however a higher proportion of males (17%) attained scores at Level 4/5 on the numeracy scale compared with females (9%).

Proportion at each literacy level, By sex
Graph: Proportion at each literacy level, by sex


Proportion at each numeracy level, By sex
Graph: Proportion at each numeracy level, by sex


PRELIMINARY DATA - LABOUR FORCE STATUS

The tables of this publication apply a concept of labour force status as defined for the international PIAAC survey and hence the international labels are used. (For example 'Out of the labour force' is used in place of 'Not in the labour force'.) While the concept of 'employed' aligns with that used by the ABS Labour Force survey, there is a subtle difference in the concept of 'unemployed', which in turn impacts on the numbers in 'out of the labour force'. For further information refer to the Glossary.

There was a statistically significant difference in the proportions of those employed and those out of the labour force at Levels 3 and 4/5 for both the literacy and numeracy scales. For literacy 42% of employed people achieved Level 3 compared with 31% of people out of the labour force whereas for Level 4/5 the results were 20% and 9% respectively.

Similarly for numeracy 36% of employed people attained a Level 3 score compared with 23% of people out of the labour force and for Level 4/5 the respective results were 16% and 7%.

Those out of the labour force had the highest proportion of people assessed at Level 1 for both scales (literacy 24% and numeracy 36%).

Proportion at each literacy level, By labour force status
Graph: Proportion at each literacy level, by labour force status

Proportion at each numeracy level, By labour force status
Graph: Proportion at each numeracy level, by labour force status


More information on literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments skills will be available once the data are finalised later in 2013.




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