The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) released global data in 2013 on how the U.S. population compared to those of other nations in terms of literacy and reading, numeracy, and problem-solving. The results weren’t pretty, especially for millennials.
The data revealed that the American millennial generation had the highest levels of education attainment of any previous generation, but that they demonstrated relatively weak skills in all the categories under consideration when compared to their international peers, according to a report in eCampus News. The research also found that too many millennials graduated without learning the right skills to enter a technology-based global workforce.
“These findings hold true when looking at millennials overall, our best performing and most educated, those who are native born, and those from the highest socioeconomic background,” wrote Irwin Kirsh, director of the Center for Global Assessments at Educational Testing Service. “Equally troubling is that these findings represent a decrease in literacy and numeracy skills for U.S. adults when compared with the result of previous adult surveys.”
PIAAC surveyed 5,000 people aged 16-65 in 22 countries for the study. U.S. millennials scored lower than 15 of the countries in literacy and ranked last in numeracy and problem-solving skills.
“If we expect to have a better-educated population and a more competitive workforce, policy-makers and other stakeholders will need to shift the conversation from one of educational attainment to one that acknowledges the growing importance of skills and examines these more critically,” Kirsch added. “How are skills distributed in the population and how do they relate to important social and economic outcomes? How can we ensure that students earning a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree acquire the necessary skills to fully participate in our society?”