Governments are increasingly looking to international comparisons of education opportunities and outcomes as they develop policies to enhance individuals’ social and economic prospects, provide incentives for greater efficiency in schooling, and help to mobilise resources to meet rising demands. The OECD Directorate for Education and Skills contributes to these efforts by developing and analysing the quantitative, internationally comparable indicators that it publishes annually in Education at a Glance. Together with OECD country policy reviews, these indicators can be used to assist governments in building more effective and equitable education systems.

Education at a Glance addresses the needs of a range of users, from governments seeking to learn policy lessons to academics requiring data for further analysis and the general public wanting to monitor how their countries’ schools are progressing in producing world-class students. This publication examines the quality of learning outcomes, the policy levers and contextual factors that shape these outcomes.

Education at a Glance is the product of a long-standing, collaborative effort between OECD governments, the experts and institutions working within the framework of the OECD Indicators of Education Systems (INES) programme, and the OECD Secretariat. It was prepared within the Innovation and Measuring Progress Division of the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills under the responsibility of Tia Loukkola. The production of Education at a Glance 2023 was led by Abel Schumann. It contains statistical and analytical contributions from Étienne Albiser, Hannah Borhan, Alison Burke, Éric Charbonnier, Minne Chu, Umberto Damiani, Eugénie de Laubier, Elisa Duarte, Bruce Golding, Jaione González Yubero, Yanjun Guo, Corinne Heckmann, Lucie Huang, Viktoria Kis, Bernardo Mayorga, Simon Normandeau, Christopher Olivares, Eloïse Passaga, Giannina Rech, Gara Rojas González, Özge Özcan Sahin, Giovanni Maria Semeraro, Lou Turroques, Palwacha Watanyar, Choyi Whang and Hajar Sabrina Yassine. Marieke Vandeweyer provided feedback and advice on vocational education and training. Administrative support was provided by Eda Cabbar. Rachel Linden supported the editorial and production process. The development of the publication was steered by member countries through the INES Working Party and facilitated by the INES networks. The members of the various bodies as well as the individual experts who have contributed to this publication and to the INES programme more generally are listed at the end of this publication.

While much progress has been made in recent years, member countries and the OECD continue to strive to strengthen the link between policy needs and the best available internationally comparable data. This presents various challenges and trade-offs. First, the indicators need to respond to education issues that are high on national policy agendas, and where the international comparative perspective can offer added value to what can be accomplished through national analysis and evaluation. Second, while the indicators should be as comparable as possible, they also need to be as country specific as necessary to allow for historical, systemic and cultural differences between countries. Third, the indicators need to be presented in as straightforward a manner as possible, while remaining sufficiently complex to reflect multi-faceted realities. Fourth, there is a general desire to keep the indicator set as small as possible, but it needs to be large enough to be useful to policy makers across countries that face different challenges in education.

The OECD will continue not only to address these challenges and develop indicators in areas where it is feasible and promising to develop data, but also to advance in areas where considerable investment is still needed in conceptual work. The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and its extension through the OECD Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), as well as the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), are major efforts to this end.

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