OECD has released the 2011 version of Education at a Glance. It’s available for free download. This is an outstanding resource – review and have handy the next time you’re in a conference and a keynote speaker drones on about educational change, relying on opinions rather than stats. Most of the hype and declarations about the end of schools, universities, classrooms, etc., rely on listeners accepting a possible future state as inevitable reality. Come to think of it, I’ve made those appeals myself. However, if we want to get serious about reforms, we have to move away from vague emotional speak (such as this…my response is here) and consider actual data.
If it’s data you seek, then Education at a Glance 2011 will give you almost 500 pages to consider, including teacher salaries, the impact of student background on performance, educational attainment and employment, educational access, and so on. I’ve used the chart on teaching time (from previous versions of this OECD report) in my presentations in the past. The interesting aspect of this chart is that teaching time – much hallowed in most schools – actually decreases in high performing systems in countries like Finland. As the report states:
The proportion of working time spent teaching provides information on the amount of time available for activities such as lesson preparation, correction, in-service training and staff meetings. A large proportion of working time spent teaching may indicate that less time is devoted to tasks such as student assessment and lesson preparation.