PIAAC-LN (Leibniz Network)

PIAAC-LN at DIPF - competencies in PIAAC and general cognitive skills: The goal of this sub-project is to investigate whether and to what extent competence tests, for example those implemented in PIAAC, measure something different than only general cognitive skills

Competence tests are intended to model, beyond general cognitive skills, the outcomes of learning processes typically taking place in the context of schools. One example of such a learning outcome is reading comprehension. Tests for general cognitive ability, in contrast, are expected to measure more general skills that remain stable over time and are not learned in the school context, for example reasoning. 

PIAAC-LN: PIAAC-LN consists of three different modules, which focus on (1) research on competence acquisition and use, (2) knowledge transfer and (3) networking. The sub-project at DIPF represents one out of five projects that belong to the first module. Under the direction of GESIS, the PIAAC Leibniz Network (PIAAC-LN) investigates the acquisition and use of competencies. In addition to the international PIAAC data, data from the longitudinal PIAAC-L study is used. The latter is managed by GESIS and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


To investigate the research question, the project will draw on data from PIAAC competence assessments of Literacy and Numeracy and assessments of general cognitive competencies from PIAAC-L. Within this sub-project, a computer-based numerical series test, which serves as a central measure of general cognitive ability, will be presented to 800 persons in PIAAC-L.

To answer the research question whether competence tests do not only measure general cognitive skills but also model the outcomes of educational processes, the project will investigate

(1) to what extent competence measures can be distinguished from of general cognitive skills (with regard to dimensionality). For instance, whether success in competence tasks and general cognitive ability depends on a common skill, or whether different skills are involved.

(2)  whether the relationship between processing parameters such as processing time and success is comparable across general cognitive ability tests and competence tests.

(3) whether the relationship to background variables, e.g. age, duration and type of general and vocational education, is comparable across general cognitive ability tests and competence tests.


Funding: Leibniz Association

Co-operation: Prof. Baumert (Max-Planck Institute for Human Development); Prof. Lüdtke, Prof. Köller (IPN); Prof. Schupp (DIW); Prof. Carstensen (University of Bamberg)

Duration: 1/2015 – 1/2018

Status: completed

Project management (TBA): Frank Goldhammer,

Contact: Frank Goldhammer, Lena Engelhardt

Further links:  PIAAC-L