Education at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators


Education at a Glance coverThis
inaptly named annual report from the OECD (the volume runs to some 500
pages) offers a plethora of data points for member nations looking to
size themselves up against their peers. It will tell you how many
students graduate from high school and from college—and the relative
earnings of each group (a college degree pays off most handily in Brazil
and the Eastern European countries). It will tell you how much is spent
per pupil—and what the public and private investment in education is
(only Chile, South Korea, and the United Kingdom see more than 20
percent of their education funding coming from the private sector).
Along with all these crunched numbers, the OECD provides an interesting
analysis of how schools are held to account in its member states.
Generally, a combination of three mechanisms—regulatory, performance,
and market accountability—is used, though the balance within this combo
is shifting. Regulatory accountability has historically been the main
story in most member states, but performance accountability—in the form
of low-stakes national assessments (now given in thirty of the
thirty-five member states at the primary level) and high-stakes national
examinations (given in twenty-three of thirty-five nations at the upper
secondary level)—is gaining ground. (As for market accountability,
we’re told that it’s “emphasized” by countries as important but is
rarely seen in practice, as the necessary conditions for its
success—widespread school choice, student-based funding, and information
access among them—simply don’t exist.) If you’re interested in another
pile of informative data—or want more than just the skinny on
accountability abroad, dive in.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development, “Education
at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators
,” (OECD Publishing, 2011).