ERIC Number: ED315920
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Educational Indicators: A Guide for Policymakers. CPRE Occasional Paper Series.
An educational indicator is a statistic revealing something about the education system's health or performance. Indicators must meet certain substantive and technical standards that define the kind of information they should provide and the features they should measure. There are two types of statistical indicators. Whereas single statistics provide readings about education (such as class size or number of schools using microcomputers), composite statistics (such as the pupil/teacher ratio) provide information concerning relationships among factors. Indicator systems measure separate components and interactions between components. Complete educational indicator systems are nonexistent. Indicators can supposedly help to: (1) report the status of American schooling and make district, state, and international comparisons; (2) monitor changes over time; (3) explain the causes of various conditions and changes; (4) predict likely changes; (5) profile system strengths and weaknessses; and (6) suggest improvement strategies for policymakers. Some of these claims can be met, while others are unrealistic, as this report shows. Indicator data are unlikely to produce unequivocably good or bad news and will be open to various interpretations. Decisions (mostly political) about desired schooling outcomes and conditions will determine the nature of any indicator system. There are numerous implementation issues, including desired level of information, the need to make fair comparisons, appropriate scope, political pressures, and reconciliation concerning priorities among policymakers and professional educators. A list of information sources is provided. (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Policy Research in Education.