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OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics

Concepts, Standards, Definitions and Classifications

image of OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics

For well over two decades, the OECD has developed and published a broad range of comparative indicators published yearly in the flagship publication Education at a Glance. These provide insights into the functioning of education systems, such as the participation and progress through education, the human and financial resources invested, and the economic and social outcomes associated with educational attainment. Through the set of harmonised indicators and definitions, they enable countries to view their education system in the light of other countries’ performance, practices, and resources.

Fundamental to the credibility and understanding of these comparisons are the concepts, definitions, classifications and methodologies that have been developed over the years to underpin the statistics and indicators. This Handbook draws these methodologies together in a single reference volume, complementing and providing an invaluable aid to  users of  Education at a Glance. In doing so, the Handbook aims to facilitate a greater understanding of the education statistics and indicators produced and so allow for their more effective use in policy analysis. Equally, it provides a ready reference of international standards and conventions for others to follow in the collection and assimilation of educational data.

This edition updates the OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics, last published in May 2004.

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Introduction

Countries see a successful education system as a vital element of their social and economic development. Human capital has long been identified as a key factor in battling unemployment and low pay and there is also robust evidence that it is an important determinant of economic growth. Moreover, there is emerging evidence that it is associated with a wide range of non-economic benefits, including improvements in health, stronger civic and social engagement, and a greater sense of well-being. This introduction presents the purpose of this handbook, the targeted audience and how this publication is structured.

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