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Note 3: International Education Definitions (2012)

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental organization of 34 industrialized countries that serves as a forum for member countries to cooperate in research and policy development on social and economic topics of common interest. These countries include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States. Currently, 25 nonmembers participate as regular observers or full participants in OECD committees.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a system of international assessments organized by the OECD that focuses on 15-year-olds' capabilities in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. PISA also includes measures of general, or crosscurricular, competencies such as learning strategies. The measures emphasize functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of mandatory schooling. PISA was administered for the first time in 2000, when 43 countries participated. Forty-one countries participated in the 2003 administration of PISA; 57 jurisdictions (30 OECD members and 27 nonmembers) participated in 2006; and 65 jurisdictions (34 OECD members and 31 nonmembers) participated in 2009.

For more information on the history, membership, and research conducted by the OECD, see,3675,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html. For more information on PISA, see Appendix B – Guide to Sources.

International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED)

The 1997 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) is used to compare educational systems in different countries. ISCED is the standard used by many countries to report education statistics to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). ISCED divides educational systems into the following seven categories, based on six levels of education.

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