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ERIC Number: EJ1213564
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Apr
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0020-8566
Assessing the Status of Lifelong Learning: Issues with Composite Indexes and Surveys on Participation
Rubenson, Kjell
International Review of Education, v65 n2 p295-317 Apr 2019
A quick review of national policy documents reveals how lifelong learning has evolved as the key principle for a comprehensive education and learning strategy from cradle to grave. This raises major challenges for how to assess and report the state of lifelong learning in UNESCO Member States. It is in this context that this article critically evaluates the efforts to develop a composite index on lifelong learning. In addition, the author reviews the two leading surveys on adult education and learning, the OECD's Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and the European Union's Adult Education Survey (AES). He examines their potential to provide a national picture of the state of lifelong learning, pointing out some fundamental shortcomings in these surveys and in the way their data have been classified. The present approach to data gathering on adult and lifelong learning, with its deep roots in the skills agenda, creates a "reality" of adult learning where the broad humanistic traditions of adult education become invisible. Analyses of the European and Canadian composite indexes of lifelong learning reveal serious problems using this approach. Not only must one question the underlying framework based on Jacques Delors' four pillars of learning, but also its practical use for directly assessing the impact of the various aspects of lifelong learning and education. A core argument in this article is that there is a need to broaden not only the indicators used to assess the state of lifelong learning, but also the approach to how outcomes are being understood and judged.
Springer. Available from: Springer Nature. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: European Union; Europe; Canada
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)