The Steering Committee on Key National Education Indicators was charged with organizing a workshop focused on exploring potential indicators that would reflect current research and address the interests of practitioners, policy makers, parents, and the general public. It was asked to commission one or more experts to develop prospective frameworks that could guide the development and implementation of a set of key education indicators and to identify candidate lists of indicators. These indicators might relate to social, economic, and other determinants of education outcomes, as well as outcomes in other sectors that are in turn affected by education. The steering committee was not asked to oversee the formal selection of a list of key indicators, or to come to any consensus about which were most promising, but rather to explore the possibilities and the primary issues to consider: the formal statement of task is shown in Box 1-1. The steering committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop, and this report has been prepared by a rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred..

In carrying out this charge, the steering committee reviewed available information about other efforts to report on education indicators, including:

•  The Composite Learning Index produced by the Canadian Council on Learning (see;

•  The Condition of Education reports produced annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (see;

•  The Education at a Glance reports produced annually by OECD (see,3746,en_2649_39263238_48634114_1_1_1_1,00.html);

•  Education Counts: An Indicator System to Monitor the Nation’s Educational Health (Special Study Panel on Education Indicators, 1991);

•  The European Lifelong Learning Index produced by UNESCO (Hoskins, Cartwright, and Schoof, 2010);

•  Indicator Systems for Monitoring Mathematics and Science Education (Shavelson, McDonnell, Oakes, Carey and Pikus, 1987);

•  The Kids Count data book reports produced annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (see; and

•  The Measuring Up reports produced biennially by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (see

They also reviewed the guidance about education indicators offered by Blank (1993), Bradburn and Fuqua (2010), Bryk and Hermanson (1993), Elliott (2009), and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (2011).

This review highlighted the plethora of education indicators that are currently available. The steering committee decided that the most effective use of the workshop would be to explore ways to select the most important ones among all the available indicators. To structure the workshop, the steering committee developed a framework (described more fully later in this chapter) that covered the stages of life in which education occurs, and commissioned a set of researchers who would each identify and justify a candidate list of three to five indicators in their own area. The workshop was

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