With the emergence and growth of the global economy, policymakers and educators have turned to international comparisons to assess how well national systems of education are performing. These comparisons shed light on a host of policy issues, from access to education to equity of resources devoted to educational achievement. They provide policymakers with the opportunity to compare different aspects of countries' education systems, assess systems' performances, and identify potential strategies to improve student achievement and system outputs.
Since the 1960s, the United States has participated actively in international projects that are designed to provide key information about the performance of the U.S. education system compared to the education systems of other countries. To consolidate this information NCES has developed International Indicator Reports, published in alternate years, drawing on the most current information available from these international projects.
The G-20 Indicator Report is a comparison of the U.S. education system with those of the other Group of 20 (G-20) countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The G-20 countries, which are among the most economically developed, represent 85 percent of the world's economy and two-thirds of its population, and are some of the United States' largest economic partners. Topics covered in the report include population and school enrollment, academic performance, contexts for learning, expenditure for education, and educational attainment and income.
Before the G-20 Indicator Report, previous reports focused on comparing the U.S. education system to the other Group of 8 (G-8) countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom.