Society at a Glance 2009

OECD Social Indicators

image of Society at a Glance 2009

Society at a Glance offers a concise quantitative overview of social trends and policies across the OECD. This 2009 edition includes a wide range of information on social issues – such as demography and family characteristics, employment and unemployment, poverty and inequality, social and health care expenditure, and work and life satisfaction –as well as a guide to help readers understand the structure of OECD social indicators. 

In addition to updating some of the indicators from previous editions, Society at a Glance 2009 adds several new and innovative social indicators, including adult height, perceived health status, risky youth behaviour and bullying. For the first time, the report also provides a condensed set of headline social indicators summarising social well-being in OECD countries. In addition, a special chapter examines leisure time across the OECD.

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Student performance

Student performance can be assessed through results from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is the most comprehensive international effort to measure the skills of students towards the end of the period of compulsory education. In the latest results, 15-year-old students across the OECD did tests in reading, mathematics and science in 2006 (the United States is not included in the reading test). In PISA comparable tests are administered under independently supervised conditions in order to assess students’ competencies. PISA tests are not tied to specific national curricula. Rather, students apply knowledge to situations they might encounter in the real word, such as planning a route, interpreting the instructions for an electrical appliance, or taking information from a figure. For each subject the average score across OECD countries is 500 for the first time it becomes a major domain in PISA. Thereafter the OECD average reflects the performance of the OECD countries.

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