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Universal Basic Skills

What Countries Stand to Gain

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While access to schooling has expanded around the world, many countries have not realised the hoped-for improvements in economic and social well-being. Access to education by itself is an incomplete goal for development; many students leave the education system without basic proficiency in literacy and numeracy. As the world coalesces around new sustainable development targets towards 2030, the focus in education is shifting towards access and quality. Using projections based on data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international student assessments, this report offers a glimpse of the stunning economic and social benefits that all countries, regardless of their national wealth, stand to gain if they ensure that every child not only has access to education but, through that education, acquires at least the baseline level of skills needed to participate fully in society.

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Transforming performance in TIMSS onto the PISA scale

The data on educational achievement generally refer to the average of mathematics and science achievement on the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) 2012 test. Data on country mean achievement are derived from OECD (2013). Data on shares of students below specific achievement levels are calculated from the underlying PISA micro database (which does not contain data for Cyprus; see notes at the end of this Annex). A total of 65 countries participated in PISA 2012, 62 of which have the internationally comparable economic data necessary to be included in the projection analyses.

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