United States to the total population of France and the Netherlands? The United States is not the only country with a diverse student population. The Netherlands accepted 120,000 immigrants in 1990—twice the rate of immigration into the United States. In both France and the United States the share of students who are taught in a language different from their mother tongue is 6 percent; it is 5 percent in Scotland, 12 percent in Canada, 15 percent in Northern Italy, and 20 percent in Switzerland (IAEP, 1992a). If scores are adjusted for the demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds of students, why not hold parent's education constant as well? If this were done, the French/Dutch lead over the United States would increase.

Access—Numbers of Students and Graduates

It is sometimes said that low achievement is the price that must be paid for greater access. However, only the United Kingdom exhibits the expected trade-off between achievement levels and enrollment ratios (see Table 7.3). Only 43

TABLE 7.3 1991 Enrollment and Completion Rates

 

France

Netherlands

United Kingdom

United States

Percent enrolled full time in secondary school

 

 

 

 

Age 16

92.0

97.2

62.4

90.2

Age 17

86.4

90.0

43.1

74.7

Age 18

57.2

67.4

12.3

21.1

Age 19

31.6

41.5

3.4

5.0

FTE enrollment in tertiary education

 

 

 

 

Age 18

19.1

12.7

24.4

33.1

Ages 18–21

26.6

19.5

16.0

33.4

Ages 22–25

12.7

14.0

4.8

13.5

Ages 26–29

4.0

4.0

2.2

6.2

FTE years in school between ages 16 and 29a

4.6

4.9

2.3

4.1

School enrollment rate, Ages 5–29

57.7

55.2

52.7

55.2

Secondary diplomas awarded / population of theoretical completion ageb

75.8

82.2

74.4

75.5

First-degree graduates from universities / population of theoretical completion age

16.3

8.3

18.4

29.6

SOURCES: OECD (1993), NCES (1992), and Government Statistical Office (1992).

a Calculated by summing the ratios of FTE enrollment to population for one-year age groups from ages 16 to 29.

b The U.S. data do not include GED certificates. The labor market does not view the GED as equivalent to a high school diploma. GED-certified high school equivalents are paid 6 percent more than high school dropouts but 8 to 11 percent less than high school graduates. The graduation rate for the United Kingdom is spuriously high because it counts regular GCSE exams taken at the end of the eleventh year of schooling as graduation. If one or more A-level exams had been the definition of secondary school graduation, the graduation rate would have been 28 percent.



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