The OECD secretariat chairs a technical group on enrollments, graduates, personnel, and finances. These networks—involving up to statisticians, policymakers, and, in some cases, academics—designed indicators, negotiated the definitions for data collections, and supplied data for annual reporting. This model of shared ownership in the development of Education at a Glance which was at first published biennially and later became an annual publication contributed to its success.
Social Indicators : Candace M. Baird :
Participants in the networks and the technical group invested the time needed to supply high-quality data because they had a stake in the publication's success. INES was initially a reporting scheme where administrative databases within countries were mined and aggregated, and it has evolved into an initiative that mounts its own cross-national surveys, including school surveys, public attitudes surveys, adult literacy surveys, and surveys of student achievement.
PISA is an assessment of reading literacy, mathematical literacy, and scientific literacy, jointly developed by participating countries and administered to samples of fifteen-year-old students in their schools. In PISA was administered in thirty-two countries, to between 4, and 10, students per country. Expected outcomes include a basic profile of knowledge and skills among students at the end of compulsory schooling, contextual indicators relating results to student and school characteristics, and trend indicators showing how results change over time.
International Education Statistics
With the results of PISA, the OECD will be able to report, for the first time, achievement and context indicators specifically designed for that purpose rather than using IEA data for country rankings and comparisons. UNESCO's first questionnaire-based survey of education was conducted in and covered fifty-seven of its member states.
Although as many as countries regularly report information on their education systems to UNESCO, much of the data reported is widely considered unreliable. Between and personnel and budgetary support for statistics at UNESCO declined, and UNESCO's ability to assist member countries in the development of their statistical infrastructure or in the reporting of data was severely limited.
In the late s, however, the World Bank and other international organizations, as well as influential member countries such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, increased pressure and financial contributions in order to improve the quality of the education data UNESCO collects.
Although this project includes only eighteen nations nearly fifty if OECD member nations are included , it has helped to raise the credibility of indicator reporting in at least some countries in the developing world. Even though this project has in many ways "cherry-picked" countries having reasonably advanced national education data systems, the collaborative spirit imported from OECD's INES project has been quite effective. Significantly expanding WEI will be quite a challenge, however, as the financial and personnel costs needed to increase both the quality of national data collection and reporting, as well as processing and indicator production on an international level, are likely to exceed the budget and staff capacity of the institute in the short term.
The visible success of the WEI project, however, shows that the interest in high-quality, comparable, education indicators expands far beyond the developed countries of the OECD. Many of the international organizations dedicated to education data collection were in operation well before the renaissance of the statistical indicator in the education sector, but these groups lacked the political power and expertise found in a number of key national governments to make them what they have recently become.
A central part of the story of international data and statistical indicators has been the thorough integration of national governments into the process. As technocratic operations of governance, with its heavy reliance on data to measure problems and evaluate policies, became standard in the second half of the twentieth century, wealthier national governments invested in statistical systems and analysis capabilities.
As was the case for the IEA and its massive TIMSS project, several key nations lent crucial expertise and legitimization to the process, factors that were clearly missing in earlier attempts. Although this "partnership" has not always been a conflict-free one, it has taken international agencies to new technical and resource levels. The integration of national experts, often from ministries of education or national statistical offices, into international indicator development teams has improved both the quality of the data collected and the national legitimacy of the data reported.
As more national governments build significant local control of education into national systems, this use of international indicators at local levels will become more widespread.
In the case of Canada, the internationally sanctioned framework provides legitimacy to a specific list of indicators that might not otherwise have gained a sufficient level of agreement among the provinces involved. The initial release of results from the PISA project will take this one step further, in that the OECD will provide participating countries reports focused on their national results, in a way similar to how the National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP produces reports for each of the fifty U.
This reporting scheme will allow participating countries to "release" their national data at the same time as the international data release. The same could easily happen with releases of subnational indicators in conjunction with international releases. This form of simultaneous release is seen as an effective way to create policy debate at a number of levels within the American system, as illustrated by the U.
International education indicators provide constituencies within national education systems another vantage point to effect change and reform. There have been four main trends behind the massive collection of data and the construction of cross-national statistical indicators in the education sector over the past several decades.
These trends are: 1 greater coordination and networks of organizations dedicated to international data collection; 2 integration of national governments' statistical expertise and resources into international statistical efforts that lead to statistical indicators; 3 political use of cross-national comparisons across a number of public sectors; and 4 near universal acceptance of the validity of statistical indicators to capture central education processes. Although examples presented here of each factor focus more on elementary and secondary schooling, the same could be said for indicators of tertiary education.
The UN argued that status and response indicators provided too narrow a focus and that more wide ranging indicators addressing underlying circumstances and conditions should also be used. In fact, any statistic, either simple or derived, may be viewed as a social indicator if it reflects a social issue or idea or tells you something about social conditions a guide to selecting effective social indicators is provided below. Because many social indicators were summary in nature, and focused on monitoring wellbeing at a broad level e.
Government programs were directed at particular target groups in the community e.
They needed specific information about them such as age, country of birth and income level. These kinds of characteristics were often used as eligibility criteria for pensions and services, so data on them was particularly valuable in welfare planning. Program planners tended to ignore generalised social indicators and to demand statistics tailored closely to their specific program planning and evaluation needs. Nevertheless, the social indicator movement fundamentally changed the way in which the ABS approached the production of social statistics.
Social indicators were not just items of data, but statistical constructs e. The process of developing informative and appropriate indicators for each area of concern assisted in focusing statistical activity on key social issues.
The production of indicators on a time series basis meant the ABS became more involved in identifying and reporting on the trends observable from these time series. Social indicators continue to play an important role in ABS social statistics as they do in the information systems of other national and international statistical agencies.
They give a quick, uncomplicated overview of social conditions by summarising aspects of the wellbeing status of the community or by indicating broad level community responses to social issues. In addition, the ABS has supplemented its social indicators program over the last decade or so by coordinating information on population groups, and formulating and building on statistical frameworks.
Social issues, population groups and statistical frameworks are discussed in more detail under social issues. The unemployment rate reflects a lack of available work. Accident and suicide rates reflect the extent of premature death in the society, or in a particular group. The authors examine whether this has resulted in better quality of life in developing countries. This paper documents the evolution of social indicators health, education, nutrition This paper documents the evolution of social indicators health, education, nutrition , private consumption, and government expenditure on the social sectors.
They conclude that developing countries made uneven progress in the quality of life in the period under study. Key findings include: a health indicators showed stable improvements in all regions, but Africa's rates were the slowest; b of all social indicators, education made the greatest gains, however, net enrollment ratios actually decreased in Africa in the s; c while developing nations as a group enjoyed improved indices of undernutrition in , the degree of undernutrition worsened in more than one-third of sub-Saharan African countries; d Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean also saw declines in average per capita private consumption during the s; and e the share of total government expenditure on health remained stable in all regions, but that of education declined in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The authors also note that any effort to assess trends is severely hampered by lack of information.