Education at a Glance

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

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1999-1487 (online)
1563-051X (print)
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OECD's annual Education at a Glance looks at who participates in education, what is spent on it, how education systems operate and the results achieved. The latter includes indicators on a wide range of outcomes, from comparisons of students’ performance in key subject areas to the impact of education on earnings and on adults’ chances of employment. This book includes StatLinks, urls linking to Excel® spreadsheets containing the background data.

Also available in: French, German, Spanish
Education at a Glance 2006

Education at a Glance 2006

OECD Indicators You do not have access to this content

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

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12 Sep 2006
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9789264025325 (PDF) ; 9789264025318 (print)

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This 2006 edition of Education at a Glance enables countries to see themselves in the light of other countries’ performance. It provides a rich, comparable and up-to-date array of indicators on the performance of education systems and represents the consensus of professional thinking on how to measure the current state of education internationally.  The indicators look at who participates in education, what is spent on it and how education systems operate and the results achieved. The latter includes indicators on a wide range of outcomes, from comparisons of student’s performance in key subject areas to the impact of education on earnings and on adults’ chances of employment.

New material in this edition includes further analysis of results of the 2003 survey of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), including student access to and use of ICT, analysis of the lowest performing students; and the effects on students performance of family background and the way classes are organised in schools; trend data on tertiary qualifications, including projections for the year 2014; trend data on survival rates in tertiary education; the impact of demographic trends on education systems, as well as projections on expenditure for the year 2015; trend data on expected years of education; instruction time per subject for 9-to-14-year-olds; and a picture of student mobility and the significance of internationalisation of higher education.

The ExcelTM spreadsheets used to create the tables and charts in this book are available via the StatLinks printed in this book. 

Also available in: French, Spanish, Italian
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  • Educational Attainment of the Adult Population
    This indicator profiles the educational attainment of the adult population, as captured through formal educational qualifications. As such it provides a proxy for the knowledge and skills available to national economies and societies. Data on educational attainment by age groups are also used in this indicator both to project educational attainment of countries’ adult populations ten years in the future and to view changes over time in each country’s contribution to the OECD-wide pool of tertiary-level graduates.
  • Current Upper Secondary Graduation Rates
    This indicator shows the current upper secondary graduate output of education systems, i.e. the percentage of the typical population of upper secondary school age that follows and successfully completes upper secondary programmes.
  • Current Tertiary Graduation and Survival Rates
    This indicator first shows the current tertiary graduate output of educational systems, i.e. the percentage of the population in the typical age cohort for tertiary education that follows and successfully completes tertiary programmes, as well as the distribution of tertiary graduates across fields of education. The indicator then shows survival rates at the tertiary level, i.e. the proportion of new entrants into the specified level of education who successfully complete a first qualification. Tertiary education covers a wide range of programmes, but overall serves as an indicator of the rate at which countries produce advanced knowledge. A traditional university degree is associated with completion of "type A" tertiary courses; "type B" generally refers to shorter and often vocationally oriented courses. The indicator also sheds light on the internal efficiency of tertiary educational systems.
  • What 15-year-olds Can Do in Mathematics
    This indicator examines the mathematics performance of 15-year-old students, drawing on 2003 data from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It describes mathematical proficiency in each country in terms of the percentage of students reaching one of six competency levels as well as in terms of the mean scores achieved by students on the overall mathematics scale and on different aspects of mathematics. It also examines the distribution of student scores within countries.
  • Between- and within-school Variation in the Mathematics Performance of 15-year-olds
    This indicator examines the between- and within-school variation in student performance on the mathematics scale. It also compares between-school variation in PISA 2000 and PISA 2003.
  • Fifteen-year-old Students who Perform at the Lowest Evels of Proficiency in Mathematics 2003
    This indicator focuses on those students who performed at the lowest levels of proficiency on the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003 mathematics literacy scale. It shows the percentages of students performing at these levels on average and across individual countries, and examines the influence of students’ background on the likelihood of them being among the lowest performers in mathematics. It looks at the reading proficiency of the lowest mathematics performers to explore whether their low performance in mathematics reflects overall difficulty in school or only in mathematics.
  • Institutional Differentiation, Socio-economic Status and 15-year-old Students' Mathematics Performance 2003
    As previous analyses of data from PISA have shown, socio-economic background accounts for a sizeable proportion of variance in mathematics performance. Some socio-economic background influences are attributable to the impact of student sorting or selection on the basis of differentiation practices in schools. This indicator examines the relative influence of socio-economic background and three forms of institutional differentiation on student mathematics performance on the PISA 2003 mathematics literacy assessment, and provides evidence on various forms of institutional differentiation and the proportion of variance in student mathematics performance that is associated with these practices relative to the proportion of variance that is attributable to students’ socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Labour Force Participation by Level of Educational Attainment
    This indicator examines relationships between educational attainment and labour force status, for both males and females, and considers changes in these relationships over time. The match between workers’ skills and the skill requirements of the labour market is a critical issue for policy makers.
  • The Returns to Education: Education and Earnings
    This indicator examines the relative earnings of workers with different levels of educational attainment as well as the financial returns to investment at these levels. Rates of return are calculated for investments undertaken as a part of initial education, as well as for the case of a hypothetical 40-year-old who decides to return to education in mid-career. This indicator also presents data that describe the distribution of pre-tax earnings within five (ISCED) levels of educational attainment to help show how returns to education vary within countries among individuals with comparable levels of educational attainment.
  • The Returns to Education: Links between Education, Economic Growth and Social Outcomes
    This indicator focuses on the role of human capital as a determinant of the level and rate of growth of output per capita within countries. The indicator complements Indicator A9, which examines the relationship between human capital and economic returns at the individual and public levels. While Indicator A9 depicts what happens to the earnings of an individual as his or her level of schooling rises, Indicator A10 seeks to capture the effects of changes in a country’s overall stock of human capital on labour productivity and health status.
  • Impact of Demographic Trends on Education Provision
    This indicator examines the trends in population numbers over the next ten years and illustrates the impact that these population trends can have on the size of the student population and the corresponding provision of educational services in countries.
  • Educational Expenditure Per Student
    This indicator provides an assessment of the investment made in each student. Expenditure per student is largely influenced by teacher salaries (see Indicators B6 and D3), pension systems, teaching materials and facilities, the programme orientation provided to pupils/students (see Indicator C2) and the number of students enrolled in the education system (see Indicator C1). Policies put in place to attract new teachers or to reduce average class size or staffing patterns (see Indicator D2) have also contributed to changes in expenditure per student.
  • Expenditure on Educational Institutions relative to Gross Domestic Product
    Education expenditure as a percentage of GDP shows how a country prioritises education in relation to its overall allocation of resources. Tuition fees and investment in education from private entities other than households (see Indicator B5) have a strong impact on differences in the overall amount of financial resources that OECD countries devote to their education systems, especially at the tertiary level.
  • Public and Private Investment in Educational Institutions
    This indicator examines the proportion of public and private funding allocated to educational institutions for each level of education. It also provides the breakdown of private funding between household expenditure and expenditure from private entities other than households. This indicator sheds some light on the widely debated issue of how the financing of educational institutions should be shared between private entities and the public, particularly those at the tertiary level. The higher the amount of household expenditure required for educational institutions, the stronger the pressure on families. Thus access to tertiary studies may be influenced both by the amount of private expenditure needed and by the financial subsidies to households that are analysed in Indicator B5.
  • Total Public Expenditure on Education
    Public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure indicates the value placed on education relative to that of other public investments such as health care, social security, defence and security. It provides an important context for the other indicators on expenditure, particularly for Indicator B3 (the public and private shares of educational expenditure), as well as quantification of an important policy lever in its own right.
  • Tuition fees Charged by Tertiary Institutions and Support for Students and Households through Public Subsidies
    This indicator examines the relationships between annual tuition fees charged by institutions, direct and indirect public spending on educational institutions, and public subsidies to households for student living costs. It considers whether financial subsidies for households are provided in the form of grants or loans and poses related questions central to this discussion: Are scholarships/grants and loans more appropriate in countries with higher tuitions fees charged by institutions? Are loans an effective means to help increase the efficiency of financial resources invested in education and shift some of the cost of education to the beneficiaries of educational investment? Or are student loans less appropriate than grants in encouraging low-income students to pursue their education? While these questions cannot be answered here, this indicator presents the policies for tuition fees and subsidies in different OECD countries.
  • Expenditure in Institutions by Service Category and by Resource Category
    This indicator compares OECD countries with respect to the division of spending between current and capital expenditure, and the distribution of current expenditure by resource category. This indicator is largely influenced by teacher salaries (see Indicator D3), pension systems, teacher age distribution, size of the non-teaching staff employed in education (see Indicator D2 in Education at a Glance 2005) and the degree to which expansion in enrolments requires the construction of new buildings. It also compares how OECD countries’ spending is distributed by different functions of educational institutions.
  • Enrolment in Education from Primary Education to Adult Life
    This indicator depicts the structure of the education systems in terms of student participation. It examines enrolment at all levels of education: first by using the number of years, or education expectancy, of full-time and part-time education in which a 5-year-old can be expected to enrol over his or her lifetime, and second, by using information on enrolment rates at various levels of education to examine educational access. Finally, trends in enrolments are used to compare the evolution of access to education from 1995 to 2004.
  • Participation in Secondary and Tertiary Education
    This indicator shows patterns of participation at the secondary level of education and the percentage of the youth cohort that will enter different types of tertiary education during their lives. Entry and participation rates reflect both the accessibility of tertiary education and the perceived value of attending tertiary programmes. This indicator also focuses on the comparative role played by public and private providers of education across OECD and partner countries.
  • Student Mobility and Foreign Students in Tertiary Education
    This indicator provides a picture of student mobility and the significance of internationalisation of tertiary education in OECD and partner countries. It shows global trends and highlights the major destinations of international students and trends in market shares on the international education market. Some of the factors underlying students’ choice of a country of study are also examined. In addition, the indicator looks at the extent of student mobility in different destinations and presents the profile of the international student intake in terms of their distribution by countries and regions of origin, types of programmes, and fields of education. The distribution of students enrolled outside of their country of citizenship by destination is also examined. Lastly, the contribution of international students to the graduate output is examined alongside immigration implications for their host countries. The proportion of international students in tertiary enrolments provides a good indication of the magnitude of student mobility in different countries.
  • Education and Work Status of the Youth Population
    This indicator shows the years that young people are expected to spend in education, employment and non-employment and examines the education and employment status of young people by gender. During the past decade, young people have spent more time in initial education, delaying their entry into the world of work. Part of this additional time is spent combining work and education, a practice that is widespread in some countries. Once young people have completed their initial education, access to the labour market is often impeded by spells of unemployment or non-employment, although this situation affects males and females differently. Based on the current situation of persons between the ages of 15 and 29, this indicator gives a picture of major trends in the transition from school to work.
  • Participation in Adult Learning
    This indicator examines the participation of the adult population in non-formal job-related education and training. This year a new estimation of the expected number of hours in non-formal job-related education and training between the ages of 25 and 64 is included. This calculation refers to the time that a hypothetical individual (facing current conditions in terms of adult learning opportunities at different stages in life) is expected to give to such education and training over a typical working life (a forty year period).
  • Total Intended Instruction Time for Students in Primary and Secondary Education
    This indicator examines the amount of instruction time that students are supposed to receive between the ages of 7 and 15. It also discusses the relationship between instruction time and student learning outcomes.
  • Class Size and Ratio of Students to Teaching Staff
    This indicator examines the number of students per class at the primary and lower secondary levels, the ratio of students to teaching staff at all levels and the breakdown of class sizes and ratio of student to teaching staff between public and private institutions. The indicator illustrates a much discussed aspect of the education students receive and is one of the determinants of the size of the teaching force within countries, along with the total instruction time of students (see Indicator D1), teachers’ average working time (see Indicator D4) and the division of teachers’ time between teaching and other duties.
  • Teachers' Salaries
    This indicator shows the starting, mid-career and maximum statutory salaries of teachers in public primary and secondary education, and various additional payments and incentive schemes used in teacher rewards systems. Together with average class size (see Indicator D2) and teachers’ working time (see Indicator D4), this indicator presents some key measures of the working lives of teachers. Differences in teachers’ salaries, along with other factors such as student to staff ratios (see Indicator D2), provide some explanation for differences in expenditure per student (see Indicator B1).
  • Teaching Time and Teachers' Working Time
    This indicator focuses on the statutory working time of teachers at different levels of education as well as their statutory teaching time. Although working time and teaching time only partly determine the actual workload of teachers, they do give some valuable insights into differences among countries in what is demanded of teachers. Together with teachers’ salaries (see Indicator D3) and average class size (see Indicator D2), this indicator presents some key measures of the working conditions of teachers.
  • Access to and Use of ICT
    This indicator focuses on access to information and communication technology (ICT) in schools across OECD countries, using the PISA 2003 data drawn from the responses of 15-year-old students and their school principals. This data provides information on ICT access for both students and staff within schools. The resulting analysis considers the number of computers in schools per 15-year-old student, the availability of computers to staff, and the perceptions of principals concerning the level of ICT resources in their school.
  • Annex 1 Characteristics of Educational Systems
    The typical graduation age is the age at the end of the last school/academic year of the corresponding level and programme when the degree is obtained. The age is the age that normally corresponds to the age of graduation. (Note that at some levels of education the term "graduation age" may not translate literally and is used here purely as a convention.)
  • Annex 2 Reference Statistics
  • Annex 3 Sources, Methods and Technical Notes
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