Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), English Pilot Study on Non-Cognitive Skills

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Publication Date
  • Cint company (Data Collector)
  • GESIS (Distributor)
  • GESIS (Hosting Institution)
Free Keywords
Schema: TheSoz
personality; personality traits; personality research
  • Abstract

    This online survey was designed to test the measurement properties of nine personality scales – the Big Five, Traditionalism, Self-Control, Self-Efficacy, Honesty/Integrity, Socio-Emotional Skills, Intellectual Curiosity, Job Orientation Preferences and Vocational Interests. Eight of these nine scales are existing scales (or combinations of scales) available for use in public domain. The scale assessing socio-emotional skills was developed by an expert group. The complete formulations of items from all the scales including the different forms/test conditions of the scales are presented in the data documentation. Simplified scales Based on the work of members of the expert group, simplified versions of original scales were developed (see data documentation). This was done in order to make the wording of the original scales more appropriate for use with general adult population (in many cases the original items were perceived as possibly too complex and abstract for less literate members of general population). Not all items have simplified versions since in some cases the original formulations were seen by the expert group as suitable for the target population. This is especially the case in the Job Orientations, Integrity/Honesty and Vocational Interests’ scales as well as the entire Intellectual Curiosity scale. In total, there are 174 original items and 130 simplified or reversed versions of the items. Neutral/middle point In addition to comparing scales containing the original and simplified items, the second main design feature of this online survey was the use of a neutral/middle point in the Likert scales (agree/disagree). In particular, there were two versions of each original and simplified scale – one with 5 agree/disagree response options, including a “neither agree nor disagree” neutral/middle category and another with 4 response options, which did not include the option of “neither agree nor disagree”. This was done in order to see which of the two response formats worked better for each of the scales in target population. Balanced scales Some of the original scales were balanced and some unbalanced, with the majority of items being part of balanced scales. The unbalanced scales (self-control, self-efficacy and socio-emotional skills) were balanced by including alternative reverse formulations of a selected small group of items. The process of balancing was achieved by reversing the original formulations of 22 items (in the item bank document, the reversed items are marked with “R” while newly reversed items are marked as “new R”). These newly reversed items were tested against their original counterparts in order to see if the creation of balanced scales led to improvements (comparing both item- and scale-level properties). Multiple choice vs forced choice In case of the Vocational Interest scale, the two design features that were tested were the original vs simplified and multiple choice vs forced choice item formats. The original format of the Vocational Interest scale was multiple choice. However, the force choice format is often used in other Vocational Interest scales and the expert group wanted to test which of the two formats works better for general adult population. Design of the online survey The objectives of the online survey were the following, to test: 1. the measurement characteristics of the selected scales; 2. the relationships of the selected scales with background and other characteristics of respondents; 3. different item formulations – original vs. simplified; 4. different response options – with or without a neutral/middle category; 5. scales with different item formats – multiple choice vs. forced choice (voc. interests scale); and 6. the new balanced scales (in comparison with the original unbalanced scales). Background questionnaire The survey included a number of socio-demographic, economic and personal wellbeing indicators as well as a short cognitive ability test. Socio-demographic characteristics: Gender, age, country of birth/residence, mother tongue, marital status, educational attainment, and parental education Economic and wellbeing indicators: Broad activity status, occupational status, income, subjective health, social trust, life satisfaction, and personal wellbeing Quality control questions: In order to check the quality of responses, the survey included three quality control items placed within the Big Five, Self-Control, and Socio-Emotional skills scales. These were used, together with other indicators of data quality, to create an overall quality control indicator and guided the exclusion of poor quality responses.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2016-06 / 2016-07
Geographic Coverage
  • United Kingdom (GB)
  • United States (US)
Sampled Universe
Persons between 16 and 65 years in the United States and United Kingdom
Non-probability: Quota; Sampling Procedure Comment: Non-probability Sample: Quota Sample Around 8,000 complete responses were collected in the first phase and around 2,000 in the second phase. Some 25% of respondents were excluded from the data base after failing to meet various quality control criteria - country of residence, age, testing time, ability test, consistency of answers, and answers on quality control questions. Thus, in the final sample there are 4,957 US respondents 953 UK respondents in the first phase and additional 1,606 US respondents in the second phase. The sample was a convenience sample and is unrepresentative of the populations of the US and UK. Quotas were used to ensure a gender, age and regional distribution that broadly represented census data in the US and UK. These desired gender distribution was not achieved as there are somewhat more women than men in both the US and UK samples. Survey implementation The survey was conducted in two phases: In the first phase, each respondent was randomly assigned to one of the four test conditions (as indicated above, Socio-emotional skills and Vocational interest scales have slightly modified test conditions): Condition A: Original scales with neutral response option Condition B: Original scales without neutral response option Condition C: Simplified scales with neutral response option Condition D: Simplified scales without neutral response option Apart from the nine personality scales, all other scales were assigned to all respondents, including the ability test which was administered as the last scale in the survey. In the second phase, three groups of respondents (around 500 in each group) were administered different sets of personality scales under all four test conditions. In particular, the first group of respondents were assigned the Big Five questionnaire with 60 items in four conditions, representing 240 items in total (plus all other additional variables and ability test). The second group were administered the Traditionalism, Self-Control, Self-Efficacy and Socio-Emotional skills scales (54 items) in all four conditions (216 items in total). The third group was administered the Integrity/Honesty, Job orientations and Vocational Interests scales (54 items) in all four conditions as (216 personality items). The second phase was added to the project in order to complement the between-subject design of the first phase with a within-subject design, in order to identify scale and item properties across different conditions in a more straightforward manner.
Time Dimension
  • Cross-section
Collection Mode
  • Self-administered questionnaire: Web-based
  • Self-administered questionnaire: CAWI (Computer-Assisted Web Interview) The survey was conducted online. The Survey was implemented using the Survey Monkey platform.
Data and File Information
  • Number of Variables: 716
Survey unit: teenagers; adults### References: • Beierlein C., Kemper C. J., Kovaleva A., & Rammstedt, B. (2013). Kurzskala zur Erfassung allgemeiner Selbstwirksamkeitserwartungen (ASKU). Short Scale for Measuring General Self-efficacy Beliefs (ASKU). mda: Methoden, Daten, Analysen, 7(2), 251-278. • Chernyshenko, O. S. (2002). Applications of ideal point approaches to scale construction and scoring in personality measurement: The development of a six-faceted measure of conscientiousness. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. • De Vries, R. E. (2013). The 24-item brief HEXACO inventory (BHI). Journal of Research in Personality, 47(6), 871-880. • Romppel, M., Herrmann-Lingen, C., Wachter, R., Edelmann, F., Düngen, H. D., Pieske, B., & Grande, G. (2013). A short form of the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE-6): Development, psychometric properties and validity in an intercultural non-clinical sample and a sample of patients at risk for heart failure. GMS Psycho-Social-Medicine, 10. • Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). The next Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 117-143. • Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). Short and extra-short forms of the Big Five Inventory–2: The BFI-2-S and BFI-2-XS. Journal of Research in Personality, 68, 69-81. • Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, & M. Johnston, Measures in health psychology: A user’s portfolio. Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35-37). Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson. Members of expert group: • Daniel Danner (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany) • Beatrice Rammstedt (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany) • Brent Roberts (University of Illinois, USA) • Manfred Schmitt (University of Landau, Germany) • Fons van de Vijver (Tilburg University, Netherlands) • Richard Roberts (Professional Examination Service, USA) • Susanne Weis (University of Landau, Germany)
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA6940 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • PIAAC (Type: FDZ)
  • 1 (Type: VerbundFDB)
  • Kankaraš, M. (2017). Personality matters. OECD Education Working Papers No. 157. Paris: OECD Publishing

Update Metadata: 2021-04-07 | Issue Number: 20 | Registration Date: 2018-08-16