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Appendix A. Technical Note and Guide to Sources

Other Organization Sources


ACT (formerly American College Testing) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides services in the broad areas of education and workforce development. The ACT test assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. ACT scores represent a self-selecting sample and, therefore, are not necessarily representative of the population as a whole.

Table 16 uses data from ACT.

For more information on ACT, see

The College Board

The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. The College Board conducts the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) testing. Scores on tests conducted by the College Board are not necessarily representative of the population as a whole as test-takers are self-selected.

Advanced Placement Program

Students who take Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school are eligible to take the corresponding AP examination, as are those students who are homeschooled and those whose schools do not offer AP courses. Students can earn college credit and advanced placement for scores above a minimum threshold. In 2009, there were 37 AP exams available across 22 subject areas.

Table 11 reports AP data.

For more information on the College Board, see

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development  (OECD)

Education at a Glance
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) publishes analyses of national policies and survey data in education, training, and economics in 34 countries. The countries surveyed are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
To highlight current education issues and create a set of comparative education indicators that represent key features of education systems, the OECD initiated the International Education Indicators Project (INES) and charged the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) with developing the cross-national indicators for it. These indicators are published in Education at a Glance. In addition to the OECD countries listed above, several partner countries are surveyed for this publication—Brazil, and the Russian Federation. The most recent publication in this series is Education at a Glance, OECD Indicators, 2010.

Table 23 reports Education at a Glance data.

For more information on Education at a Glance, see

Program for International Student Assessment
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a system of international assessments that focus on 15-year-olds’ capabilities in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. PISA also includes measures of general, or cross-curricular, competencies (such as learning strategies). PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of mandatory schooling. PISA is organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries. Begun in 2000, PISA is administered every 3 years. Each administration includes assessments of all three subjects, but assesses one of the subjects in depth. In 2009, administration of PISA was focused on science reading literacy.

Table 13 features PISA data.               

For more information on PISA, see

University of Michigan

Monitoring the Future (MTF)
The Monitoring the Future (MTF) Study is a continuing series of surveys intended to assess the changing lifestyles, values, and preferences of American youth. Each year since 1975, high school seniors from a representative sample of public and private high schools have participated in this study. The 2009 survey is the 19th survey to include comparable samples of 8th- and 10th-graders in addition to seniors. The study is conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research (ISR) under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The student response rates for Monitoring the Future have varied between 79 and 86 percent since 1980. In 2009, the student response rate was 82 percent, compared to the NCES standard which requires a minimum of 85 percent. However, the school response rate in that year was 63 percent. In appendices A and B of the 1984 volume, the Monitoring the Future authors extensively addressed issues that could affect the representativeness and validity of their data, and they determined that there is no single factor that has been dominant in school refusals. These refusals appear to be a function of “happenstance events” of a particular year. Therefore, the authors are confident that the school refusals have not biased the survey.
Tables 33 and 37 use MTF data.

For more information on Monitoring the Future, see and