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Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)

International Data and Indicators

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) carries out a variety of activities to contribute to and develop analyses for international comparisons of education. Timely and accurate responses to survey requests from international organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), UNESCO, and Eurostat require, transformations of NCES data, special analyses of unpublished data, and review of international publications to ensure that U.S. responses are in accordance with international definitions and standards.

The culmination of this work is the OECD’s annual release of Education at a Glance (EAG) on the second Tuesday in September each year. The EAG report provides comparative data on education in OECD and selected non-OECD partner countries on a wide array of topics drawing from many sources, both government and private. While NCES contributes U.S. data and collaborates to develop indicators for the report, the report is an OECD product with commentary and policy recommendations written from an OECD perspective. Topics covered in the annual EAG publication include participation in early childhood programs; salaries and working hours for public school teachers; high school graduation rates; college attendance and graduation rates; education expenditures; educational attainment; and employment outcomes.

Data prepared and presented in EAG on topics with high policy interest in the United States are featured in NCES reports including the Condition of Education and Digest of Education Statistics.

The main purposes of international comparisons are to

Data and Results

Both the OECD and NCES publish international data and results on education in various user-friendly formats.

Data Tools

OECD.Stat: This online data analysis tool allows users to conduct analyses of international education data without the need for specialized software. Subnational data, for the United States and other participating countries, can also be accessed on OECD.Stat.

OECD Education GPS: This interactive online tool allows users to compare the education policies, practices, opportunities, and outcomes of the United States to other countries.

Reports and Tables

Education at a Glance: This OECD report provides data on the structure, finances, and performance of education systems across OECD countries and a number of partner economies. More than 100 charts and tables in this publication provide key information on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; access, participation, and progression in education; the financial resources invested in education; and teachers, the learning environment, and the organization of schools.

Condition of Education: This annual report from NCES contains key indicators on international education comparisons.

Digest of Education Statistics: Chapter 6 of this NCES publication offers a broad perspective on education across the nations of the world. This chapter provides tables that compare various educational practices and outcomes in the United States to those of other countries. Economic indicators and price indexes are included to facilitate analyses.

Education Indicators in Focus: This recurring OECD series of briefs highlights specific indicators in OECD’s Education at a Glance that are of particular interest to policymakers and practitioners. These briefs provide a detailed look at current issues in preprimary, primary, and secondary education; higher education; and adult outcomes from a global perspective. They contain a mix of text, tables, and charts that describe the international context of the most pressing questions in education policy and practice.