Skills beyond school

Education at a Glance 2002 - Summary of Chapters


The 2002 edition of Education at a Glance - OECD Indicators 2002 provides a rich, comparable and up-to-date array of indicators that reflect a consensus among professionals on how to measure the current state of education internationally. They provide information on the human and financial resources invested in education, on how education and learning systems operate and evolve, and on the returns to educational investments. The indicators are organised thematically, and each is accompanied by background information. The 2002 edition of Education at a Glance adds three important improvements to its predecessors:

OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which governments launched to monitor student performance regularly within an internationally agreed framework, provides now comparable information on the outcomes of education and learning as well as on key factors shaping these outcomes. Such information has long been a critical gap in the indicator set. PISA aims to provide a new basis for policy dialogue such that countries can work together to define educational goals that are both innovative and realistic, and that reflect judgements concerning the skills that are relevant to adult life. PISA is part of a shift in focus from education inputs and institutions to outcomes. The shift is designed to support policy-makers as they attempt to improve schooling that prepares young people for adult life during an era of rapid change and increasing global interdependence.

A growing proportion of the indicators now looks beyond aggregate country performance and incorporates variations within countries that allow an examination of issues of equity in the provision and outcomes of education on dimensions such as gender, age, socio-economic background, type of institution, or field of education.

The OECD education indicators are being progressively integrated into a new framework. This framework:

  • distinguishes between the actors in education systems: individual learners, instructional settings and learning environments, educational service providers, and the education system as a whole;
  • groups the indicators according to whether they speak to learning outcomes for individuals and countries, policy levers or circumstances that shape these outcomes, or to antecedents or constraints that set policy choices into context; and
  • identifies the policy issues to which the indicators relate, with three major categories distinguishing between the quality of educational outcomes and educational provision, issues of equity in educational outcomes and educational opportunities, and the adequacy and effectiveness of resource management.

The following matrix describes the first two dimensions:

The 2002 edition of Education at a Glance is divided into four chapters.

Chapter A examines the outcomes of education and learning, in terms of current output of educational institutions and educational attainment of the adult population, the quality of learning outcomes and how this varies between schools and students, equity in educational opportunities and outcomes and the returns to education for individuals and society.

Chapter B considers the financial and human resources invested in education, in terms of the resources that each country invests in education relative to its number of students enrolled and relative to national income and the size of public budgets, the ways in which education systems are financed, and the sources of the funds, different financing instruments and how the money is invested and apportioned among different resource categories.

Chapter C looks at access to education, participation and progression, in terms of the expected duration of schooling, overall and at the different levels of education, entry to and participation in different types of educational programmes and institutions, learning beyond initial education and cross-border movements of students.

Chapter D examines the learning environment and organisation of schools, in terms of student learning conditions, the availability and use of information technology at school and at home, classroom and school climate and teachers' working conditions.



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