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A Comparative Imperative

Education has long been considered the great equalizer and the engine of the American Dream. In today’s knowledge economy, education is more important than ever. The OECD provides a unique forum to compare performance, share expertise, best practices and innovative ideas in hopes of providing students with the know-how and career-readiness to compete in the global marketplace of the 21st century.

The United States benefits through its participation in two main OECD education bodies:

  • The Education Policy Committee (EDPC) coordinates the OECD’s education activities and works to assist OECD member and non-member countries to achieve lifelong high quality education.
  • The Center for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) anticipates educational policies that will be relevant in the long term.

The OECD tracks, measures, and compares education performance in dozens of countries.  Its recommendations and useful data help education experts improve their systems and practices:

  • PISA (The Program for International Student Assessment) is a triennial international assessment of 15-year-old students’ literacy in mathematics, reading, and science. PISA is the pre-eminent tool for benchmarking education performance internationally. More than 65 countries and education systems participated in the 2012 assessment. For more information, click on the White House’s data.gov website and OECD best practices and recommendations for the United States.
  • PIAAC (the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) includes the Survey of Adult Skills and other tools to help countries develop policies that foster both the development of skills and the optimal use of existing skills.
  • Education at a Glance is an annual compendium of international education indicators. It examines graduation rates, the financial and human resources invested in education, access and barriers to education, participation and progression rates, as well as the learning environment and organization of schools.