Économie et Statistique n° 490Adults' writing and arithmetic skills
Introduction :The 2011 Information et vie quotidienne survey and national and international adult literacy skills surveys
Surveys aimed at measuring the knowledge and skills of pupils at a given age or educational level have been established practice for several decades, whether at national level or across a set of countries for comparative purposes. Standardising the assessment of adults' writing (literacy) and numerical (numeracy) skills is more difficult and has therefore developed more recently, first internationally and then more specifically in France. Methodological work has shown that certain assessment methods can be inappropriate depending on the cultural context. A multi-disciplinary working group, including survey statisticians, psychometric specialists and social science researchers, was set up to prepare the Information et vie quotidienne (IVQ) 2004 survey, followed by a further edition in 2011. This national survey also focuses on illiteracy and on adults' serious difficulties with writing and arithmetic. France was also a stakeholder in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) launched by the OECD in 2007, with data collected in 2012 for a study offering an international perspective. The articles in this issue offer some in-depth analyses of the IVQ survey data. Their conclusions may inform recommendations on public education and training policies, particularly those in favour of lifelong learning, and suggest policies targeting specific populations, including adults who have experienced difficult childhood events, new migrants, or older workers.