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A Framework and Principles for International Comparative Studies in Education Norman M. Bradburn and Dorothy M. Gilford, Editors ~ rat ~ . ~ -,.. . ~,~.\ h!,=-i' B I C S E Board on International Comparative Studies in Education Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1990
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engi- neering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their spe- cial competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Insti- tute of Medicine. The project that is the basis for this report was supported with funds from the National Science Foundation, the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Edu- cation, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Available from Board on International Comparative Studies in Education National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 90-63855 Printed in the United States of America .
BOARD ON INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN EDUCATION NORMAN M. BRADBURN (Chair), National Opinion Research Center and Department of Psychology, University of Chicago JOSEPH F. ALIBRANDI, Whittaker Corporation, Los Angeles, California GORDON M. AMBACH, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, D.C. ROBERTO M. FERNANDEZ, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University JAMES W. GUTHRIE, School of Education, University of California, Berkeley EDWARD H. HAERTEL, School of Education, Stanford University MORRIS H. HANSEN,* Westat, Inc., Rockville, Maryland STEPHEN P. HEYNEMAN, Population and Human Resources Division, Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Region, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. DANIEL G. HORVITZ, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina LYLE V. JONES,* Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina GAEA LEINHARDT, Department of Education, University of Pittsburgh JOHN R. SCHWILLE, College of Education, Michigan State University FLORALINE I. STEVENS, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, California JUDITH V. TORNEY-PURTA, Department of Human Development, University of Maryland DAVID E. WILEY, School of Education, Northwestern University RICHARD M. WOLF, Teachers College, Columbia University DOROTHY M. GILFORD, Director E. LAURA LATHROP, Research Assistant M. JANE PHILLIPS, Administrative Secretary ~ Term ended June 30, 1990
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the further- ance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and In the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the su- per~or achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White Is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the Na- tional Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions In the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel 0. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of further- ing knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Mediane. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
PREFACE The Board on International Comparative Studies in Educa- tion was established in 1988 by the National Research Council, through its Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, to oversee educational research and statistical activities that are conducted in the United States in conjunction with other countries. The general purposes of the board are to develop periodically a comprehensive plan for U.S. participation in in- ternational studies; provide a forum for information and discussion; assist in planning the conduct and funding of studies; establish principles regarding the quality of study design, data collection and analysis procedures, and report preparation; assist in the dissemination of study findings; and promote the use of as- sessment findings to improve U.S. education. The board is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Defense. This document evolved from early activities of the board. As the board reviewed the plans for the Computers in Education Study being conducted under the aegis of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, (lEA), it became clear that guidelines should be developed for reviewing proposals and responding to agency requests for advice on whether to participate in specific studies. Thus, we began to develop principles for appraising proposals for international comparative education studies. During its second year, our sponsoring agencies requested the board's advice on plans of the Educational Testing Service for a second International Assessment of Educational Progress, the second cycle of what might become a new series of international studies. Since the proposed series would compete for funding and for access to schools with studies planned by the TEA, which had been involved in international assessments for 30 years, the board recognized the need for a conceptual frame- work for a long-range plan for international studies. There- fore, we began development of a framework for advising gov- ernment agencies on participation in international comparative studies. In addition to considering the question of U.S. par- v
Al PREFACE ticipation in international comparisons, the framework consid- ers why the United States should participate in international studies and what kinds of studies it should support; discusses general issues in comparative education studies; and proposes a framework for establishing priorities for different types of studies. The framework may also be helpful in identifying areas of research that are neglected. The board recognizes that it cannot unilaterally establish a framework for international studies, but it hopes to stimulate international discussion of such a framework. We offer this document as a basis for international discussion of the issues that must be considered in establishing priorities for different types of studies. The board plans to disseminate the document widely in the education research and policy communities, and welcomes comments on it. As a next step in building consensus, the board plans to convene a conference on the framework and principles in the spring of 1991 for discussion of the need for specific studies, inclucling a desirable schedule for them. Fol- lowing the conference we expect to prepare a prescriptive framework report that recommends a long-range plan for U.S. participation in specific international studies. ~ want to extend my appreciation to the members of the two working groups who prepared the draft documents that were the basis of this report. The group of James Guthrie (chair), Edward Haertel, and Judith Torney-Purta developed the draft "Pr~n- ciples for Appraising International Comparative Education Proposals" and repeatedly revised it to reflect discussion at board meetings. The group of Stephen Heyneman (chair), Ed- ward Haertel, Lyle Jones, Gaea Leinhardt, and Judith Torney- Purta drafted the "Framework for International Comparative Studies in Education." I: also wish to thank all board members for the stimulating discussions that ultimately shaped this report. The board sent the draft framework and principles docu- ments for review to almost 100 comparative education researchers, including members of the general assembly of the TEA, several national research coordinators for the International Assessment of Educational Progress, numerous members of the European Consortium of Institutes for Educational Research and Devel- opment, and several education researchers in the United States and in international organizations concerned with education.
PREFACE ·. Vll We received comment from 39 researchers in 19 different countries and 7 from researchers in international organizations. They are too numerous to mention by name, but we would like to thank all of those who gave so generously of their time in reviewing the drafts. They provided thoughtful and incisive comments, some of them based on the experience and knowledge acquired in life-time careers in comparative education. Their comments were of invaluable assistance to the board. The board is grateful to Eugenia Grohman, Associate Direc- tor for Reports for the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, for her fine technical editorial work, which contributed greatly to the organization and reaciability of this document. We would also like to thank members of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education who reviewed the manuscript and offered cogent comments. Finally, ~ want to extend my appreciation to Dorothy Gilford, director of the board, who is coeditor of the report and who provided the staff support that was indispensable to completion of the document and that made life tolerable for the chairman. As research assistant, Laura Lathrop was most helpful in cias- sifying the hundreds of comments received from our colleagues who reviewed the preliminary drafts, and she handled ah logistical arrangements for board meetings efficiently and effectively. Jane Phillips serves ably as administrative secretary for the board and cheerfully and competently coped with multiple rounds of revisions of this document. Norman M. Bradburn, Chair Board on International Comparative Studies in Education