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.

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Education at a Glance 2007

Education at a Glance 2007

OECD Indicators You do not have access to this content

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

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18 Sep 2007
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9789264032880 (PDF) ; 9789264032873 (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. New material in this 2007 edition includes data on how socio-economic background affects access to tertiary education, more data on participation in vocational programmes, trend data on graduation rates, trend data on enrolment rates, data on contractual arrangements of teachers, and data on evaluation policies for public schools.  This book includes StatLinks, urls linking to Excel® spreadsheets containing the background data.
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  • Editorial
    Higher education graduation rates have grown massively in OECD countries in recent decades. But what is the impact of this on labour markets? Has the increasing supply of well-educated labour been matched by the creation of an equivalent number of high-paying jobs? Or one day will everyone have a university degree and work for the minimum wage? The analysis below of this year’s edition of Education at a Glance suggests that the expansion has had a positive impact for individuals and economies and that there are, as yet, no signs of an "inflation" of the value of qualifications. The sustainability of the continued expansion will, however, depend on re-thinking how it is financed and how to ensure that it is more efficient.
  • Indicator A1 To what level have adults studied?
    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 attainment by fields of education and by age groups are also used in this indicator both to examine the distribution of skills in the population and to have a rough measure of what skills have recently entered the labour market and of what skills will be leaving the labour market in the coming years. It also looks at the effects of tertiary education expansion and asks whether this leads to the overqualified crowding out the lesser qualified.
  • Indicator A2 How many students finish secondary education?
    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.
  • Indicator A3 How many students finish tertiary education?
    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 examines the number of science graduates in relation to employed persons. It also considers whether gender differences concerning motivation in mathematics at the age of 15 may affect tertiary graduation rates. Finally, the indicator 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.
  • Indicator A4 What are students' expectations for education?.
    Drawing on data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003 survey, this indicator presents the highest level of education that 15-year-old students report they expect to complete. The indicator first provides an overall picture of students’ academic expectations in OECD countries and then examines relationships between expectations for tertiary education (ISCED 5 or 6) and variables such as individual performance levels, gender, socio-economic status and immigrant status, in order to shed light on equity issues.
  • Indicator A5 What are students' attitudes towards mathematics?
    This indicator examines how 15-year-old students’ attitudes toward and approaches to learning and school vary across countries and across groups of countries, as well as the relationship between these characteristics and students’ performance in mathematics. The indicator draws on data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) 2003 survey.
  • Indicator A6 What is the impact of immigrant background on student performance?
    This indicator compares the performance in mathematics and reading of 15-yearold students with an immigrant background with their native counterparts, using data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment 2003 survey. It also looks at the motivation of these students to learn.
  • Indicator A7 Does the socio-economic status of their parents affect students' participation in higher education?
    This indicator examines the socio-economic status of students enrolled in higher education, an important gauge of access to higher education for all. International comparable data on the socio-economic status of students in higher education is not widely available and this indicator is a first attempt to illustrate the analytical potential that would be offered by better data on this issue. It takes a close look at data from ten OECD countries, examining the occupational status (white collar or blue collar) of students’ fathers and the fathers’ educational background and also considers data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2000 survey.
  • Indicator A8 How does participation in education affect participation in the labour market?
    This indicator examines relationships between educational attainment and labour force status, for both males and females, and considers changes in these relationships over time.
  • Indicator A9 What are the economic benefits of education?
    This indicator examines the relative earnings of workers with different levels of educational attainment of 25 OECD countries and the partner economy Israel. This indicator also presents data that describe the distribution of pre-tax earnings (see Annex 3 for notes) 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 financial returns to educational attainment 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. For the first time, this indicator presents new estimates of the rate of return for an individual investing in upper secondary education instead of working for the minimum wage with a lower secondary level of education.
  • Classification of educational expenditure
  • Indicator B1 How much is spent 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, instructional and teaching hours (see Indicators D1 and D4), 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 over the time in expenditure per student.
  • Indicator B2 What proportion of national wealth is spent on education?
    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.
  • Indicator B3 How much public and private investment is there in education?
    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 public entities and private ones, particularly those at the tertiary level.
  • Indicator B4 What is the total public spending 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.
  • Indicator B5 How much do tertiary students pay and what public subsidies do they receive?
    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 lowincome students to pursue their education? While these questions cannot be fully answered here, this indicator presents information about the policies for tuition fees and subsidies in different OECD countries.
  • Indicator B6 On what resources and services is education funding spent?
    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. It 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.
  • Indicator B7 How efficiently are resources used in education?
    This indicator examines the relationship between resources invested and outcomes achieved in primary and lower secondary education across OECD countries and thus raises questions about the efficiency of their education systems.
  • Indicator C1 How prevalent are vocational programmes?
    This indicator shows the participation of students in vocational education and training (VET) at the upper secondary level of education and compares the levels of education expenditure per student for general programmes and VET. This indicator also compares the educational outcomes of 15-year-old students enrolled in general education and in vocational education.
  • Indicator C2 Who participates in education?
    This indicator examines access to education and its evolution by using information on enrolment rates and trends in enrolments from 1995 to 2005. It also 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. For information on vocational education and training in secondary education, see Indicator C1.
  • Indicator C3 Who studies abroad and where?
    This indicator is providing a picture of student mobility and the extent of the internationalisation of tertiary education in OECD countries and partner economies. It shows global trends and highlights the major destinations of international students and trends in market shares of the international student pool. 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. Finally, 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.
  • Indicator C4 How successful are students in moving from education to work?
    This indicator shows the number of 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 periods 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.
  • Indicator C5 Do adults participate in training and education at work?
    This indicator examines the participation of the adult population in non-formal job-related education and training by showing the expected number of hours in such education and training. A particular focus of this indicator is the time that a hypothetical individual (facing current conditions in terms of adult learning opportunities at different stages in life) is expected to spend in such education and training over a typical working life (a 40-year period).
  • Indicator D1 How much time do students spend in the classroom?
    This indicator examines the amount of instruction time that students are expected to receive between the ages of 7 and 15. It also discusses the relationship between instruction time and student learning outcomes.
  • Indicator D2 What is the student-teacher ratio and how big are classes?
    This indicator examines the number of students per class at the primary and lower secondary levels, and the ratio of students to teaching staff at all levels; it distinguishes between public and private institutions. Class size and student-teacher ratios are much discussed aspects of the education students receive and – 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 – are among the determinants of the size of the teaching force within countries.
  • Indicator D3 How much are teachers paid?
    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 reward systems. It also presents information on aspects of teachers’ contractual arrangements. 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).
  • Indicator D4 How much time do teachers spend teaching?
    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 work lives of teachers.
  • Indicator D5 How do education systems monitor school performance?
    This indicator focuses on the evaluation and accountability arrangements for lower secondary public schools that exist across countries. The focus is upon the collection, use and availability of student and school performance information. This indicator complements the quantitative information relating to teacher salaries and working and teaching time (Indicators D3 and D4), instruction time of students (Indicator D1), and the relationship between number of students and numbers of teachers (Indicator D2) by providing qualitative information on the type and use of particular school accountability and evaluation arrangements.
  • Annexes
    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.)
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