OECD Education Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies drawing on the work of the OECD Directorate for Education. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language (English or French) with a short summary available in the other.

English, French

Education systems, education reforms, and adult skills in the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC)

This study uses the PIAAC data to examine the relationships between education system characteristics (e.g. early tracking and vocational education orientation) and distributions of adult numeracy skills. It also investigates the effects of postponing the tracking age and easing university access for students on a vocational track on the average skills and different percentiles of the skills distribution.

Correlational analysis suggests that education systems with more students enrolled in vocational tracks have on average higher levels of numeracy skills and more compressed skills distributions between the 50th and 90th percentiles.

Further analysis suggests that postponing the tracking age among 14 European countries does not have a significant effect on the average skills of the population. However, it increases skills for individuals at the 10th, 20th, and 30th percentiles of the skill distribution.

Expanding university access is associated with an increase in numeracy skills, particularly for individuals at the bottom three deciles of the distribution.


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