STEP Fact Sheet

Long title
STEP Skills Measurement Household Survey
Frequency of data collection

Various waves (data collection every 2 years)

  • First-wave countries: 2011–2013
  • Second-wave countries: 2012–2014
  • Third-wave countries: 2015–2017



  • 2010: framework and instrument development
  • 2011: pilot testing with first-round countries
  • 2011 to present: data collection
  • 2014: framework and methodology documents published
  • 2014: release of international database and first international reports (cross-country snapshot for household survey)
  • 2016: release of updated international reports (cross-country snapshot for employer survey)
  • To measure skill levels of the adult populations (ages 15–64) in low- and middle-income countries
  • To provide a unique resource for understanding skill levels of populations and requirements for a country’s labor market
  • To provide data to understand the relationship between skill acquisition and educational achievement, personality, and social background
  • To provide data to understand the relationship between skill acquisition and living standards, reductions in inequality and poverty, social inclusion, and economic growth
  • To understand the interaction between education, skills, and employability
  • To provide data on literacy levels of populations in low- and middle-income countries comparable with OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) proficiency scale.
Research questions
  • What are the current levels and distributions of cognitive, technical and non-cognitive skills among adults in middle and low-income countries?
  • How do the education and skill levels (cognitive and non-cognitive) of a population relate to labor market outcomes for the adult population?
Assessment domain(s)
  • Reading literacy
Study framework (summary)

Reading literacy assessment

  • Cognitive processes with text
    • Access and identify information
    • Integrate and interpret
    • Evaluate and reflect
  • Extension: reading components
    • Word meaning (print vocabulary)
    • Sentence processing
    • Passage comprehension


Background questionnaire

  • Household-level information
    • Household roster
    • Dwelling characteristics
  • Individual respondent information
    • Background
      • Education and training
      • Health and life preferences
      • Employment history
      • Language and family background
    • Skills
      • Self-reported cognitive skills and job-relevant skills
      • Socio-emotional skills
Participating entities


The STEP Household Survey has been administered in a total of 15 countries:

  • 12 countries completed
  • 3 presently underway



Armenia, Bolivia, Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya, Kosovo, Laos, Macedonia, the Philippines, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Yunnan Province (People’s Republic of China)

Target population and sample (summary)

Target population

  • Household level: households in urban and rural areas (country-dependent)
  • Individual level: adults aged 15 to 64 (in respective country)



Approximately 2,500–3,000 individuals per country

Data collection techniques and instruments (summary)

Household survey

  • Background questionnaire
  • Literacy assessment
Study director(s)
Study website(s)

The World Bank

1818 H Street,

20433 NW Washington, DC


Tel : (202) 473-1000

Fax: (202) 522-2615