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EDUCATION FOR ALL (EFA) CORE INDICATORS

The EFA 2000 Assessment aims at obtaining a comprehensive review of progress, achievements, and shortfalls in the provision of basic education for all children, youth, and adults. The United States EFA 2000 Assessment achieves this and goes beyond the original mandate through an in-depth discussion of trends and critical issues in basic education in the United States in Section I of the report. This discussion highlights trends, statistics, and examples that illustrate much of what the EFA commission was hoping to accomplish through the collection of the indicators. In addition, it outlines United States assistance to developing countries in meeting EFA goals and basic education needs, especially since 1990, as well as continuing challenges and emerging issues.

Many of the data necessary for compiling the indicator tables, listed below, have not been readily available because the indicators are not based upon information currently collected and compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) or other U.S. Agencies, such as information collected for the annual Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Education at a Glance report. In addition, while NCES collects data on primary and secondary levels of education, many of the available data focus on secondary rather than primary. Therefore, this report presents data as available, but uses in-depth written analysis drawing on numerous sources of information, statistical and otherwise, to indicate changes and challenges in the U.S. education system in regard to EFA priorities in the past ten-years.

The Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs, which was agreed on at the World Conference on Education for All, identified 18 core indicators for which all countries were encouraged to gather data. The indicators are grouped according to the six target dimensions referred to in the Framework. The indicators are as follows:

Indicator 1: Gross enrollment in early childhood development programs, including public, private, and community programs, expressed as a percentage of the official age-group concerned, if any, otherwise the age-group 3 to 5.

Indicator 2: Percentage of new entrants to primary grade 1 who have attended some form of organized early childhood development program.

Indicator 3: Apparent (gross) intake rate: new entrants in primary grade 1 as a percentage of the population of official entry age.

Indicator 4: Net intake rate: new entrants to primary grade 1 who are of the official primary school-entrance age as a percentage of the corresponding population.

Indicator 5: Gross enrollment ratio.

Indicator 6: Net enrollment ratio.

Indicator 7: Public current expenditure on primary education a) as a percentage of GNP; and b) per pupil, as a percentage of GNP per capita.

Indicator 8: Public expenditure on primary education as a percentage of total public expenditure on education.

Indicator 9: Percentage of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications.

Indicator 10: Percentage of primary school teachers who are certified to teach according to national standards.

Indicator 11: Pupil-teacher ratio.

Indicator 12: Repetition rates by grade.

Indicator 13: Survival rate to grade 5 (percentage of a pupil cohort actually reaching grade 5).

Indicator 14: Coefficient of efficiency (ideal number of pupil years needed for a cohort to complete the primary cycle, expressed as a percentage of the actual number of pupil-years).

Indicator 15: Percentage of pupils having reached at least grade 4 of primary schooling who master a set of nationally defined basic learning competencies.

Indicator 16: Literacy rate of 15- to 24-year-olds.

Indicator 17: Adult literacy rate: percentage of the population aged 15+ that is literate.

Indicator 18: Literacy Gender Parity Index: ratio of female to male literacy rates.

The following section discusses the indicators in more detail and refers the reader to places in the report where smiliar or supplemental issues and data are discussed.

Early childhood education (Indicators 1 and 2)

Total nursery school enrollment has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Although data have not been compiled specifically on gender parity in early childhood development participation, the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey of October 1997 showed roughly equal numbers of male and female students. In October 1997, there were 4,315,000 male and 4,118,000 female 3- to 4-year-olds enrolled in kindergarten or nursery school.

Entrance in Grade 1 is near universal and, therefore, the data are not collected.

Data are not available on the number of new entrants to Grade 1 or the number of first graders with early childhood development experience. See Section II. Education for All in the United States, The Status of Education for All in the United States, 1. Expansion of early childhood care and development for further information about trends in early childhood care and development in the United States.

Enrollment in grade 1 (Indicators 3 and 4)

As is the case with Indicator 2, it is not possible to separate out new entrants from repeaters in primary grade 1 and, therefore, it is not possible to estimate the gross intake rate. However, data are available on the percentage of 5- to 6-year-olds enrolled in any type of graded public, parochial, or other private school, disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender, which is displayed in indicator table 3b.

Gross and neet enrollment (Indicators 5 and 6)

As is apparent in column 10 of indicator table 4a, there is near universal enrollment in grade levels K-8. See Education for All in the United States, The Status of Education for All in the United States. Universal access to, and completion of, primary and secondary education for a discussion of enrollment.

Public expenditure on primary education (Indicators 7 and 8)

Qualifications of primary school teachers (Indicators 9 and 10)

There is no nationally recognized set of standard credentials for primary school teachers. Following state requirements, school districts rely on teacher credentials, such as state certification or teachers’ performance on national, state, or local tests when considering applicants. In the period from 1987 to 1994, hiring requirements varied significantly by region of the country. See section II. Education for All in the United States, Experiences in the United States related to Education for All, 1. Standards-based reform and the pursuit of quality for a discussion of quality—including teacher quality, assessment, and reform.

Pupil-teacher ratios (Indicator 11)

The data in table 7 show that since the 1970s in both public and private schools there have been reductions in pupil-teacher ratios, going from a national average of 24.6 pupils per teacher in 1970 to 18.9 in 1995.

Repetition rates by grade (Indicator 12)

Reliable data are not available on repetition rates by grade. The Department of Education does not consider repetition a clearly defined policy area, and, therefore, does not collect such data.

Survival rate to grade 5 and coefficient of efficiency (Indicators 13 and 14)

Data are not available on the survival rate to grade 5 or the coefficient of efficiency. The United States has achieved almost universal access at the elementary level, and has instead focused data collection and attention on dropouts at the middle and high school levels. See Section II. Education for All in the United States, The Status of Education for All in the United States, Dropping out at the secondary level on page 8 of the report for trend data on secondary dropout rates.

Percent of students having reached at least grade 4 who meet national standards (Indicator 15)

The United States does not have nationally defined learning competencies and so cannot provide this information. However, the report discusses the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and standards-based reform in Education for All in the United States, The Status of Education for All in the United States. Improvement in learning achievement.The NAEP includes data compiled on math, science, reading, and writing levels of 9-, 13-, and 17-year olds.

Literacy rates and gender parity of literacy (Indicators 16, 17, and 18)

The United States does not expressly collect data on the literacy rate of 15- to 24-year-olds, the percentage of the population aged 15+ that is literate, or the ratio of female to male literacy rates. Nonetheless, in 1997 approximately 98% of the population aged 25 and older had completed 5 or more years of schooling. See Education for All in the United States, The Status of Education for All in the United States. Reduction of adult illiteracy rate, especially gender disparities for a discussion of comparative studies of the literacy of children and adults, and findings for the United States, specifically findings from the International Adult Literacy Survey.

APPENDIX

The Authors

Edward B. Fiske is an internationally known education writer and editor who from 1974 to 1991 served as Education Editor of the New York Times. In 1991, he published Smart Schools, Smart Kids (Simon & Schuster), a highly praised study of systemic school reform in the United States. He is editor of The Fiske Guide to Colleges (Times Books/Random House), an annual publication that is a standard part of the college admissions literature in the United States, and co-author of The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College. After leaving the Times in 1991, Mr. Fiske spent a year in Cambodia, where, among other things, he published a study of the education of girls entitled Using Both Hands (Asian Development Bank). He has written extensively on education in developing countries for the Academy for Educational Development and The World Bank, and he has been the principal author of a series of Status & Trends monographs for UNESCO. He and his wife, Helen F. Ladd, an economist at Duke University, spent the first half of 1998 in New Zealand studying that country’s school reforms. Their book, When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale, will be published in March 2000 by the Brookings Institution Press.

Barbara O’Grady is a vice president of the Academy for Educational Development with more than 20 of experience in international education. She was formerly the Academy’s director of the International Basic Education department, where she oversaw basic education programs in Asia and Africa for USAID, The World Bank, and other multilateral donors. Ms. O’Grady is the author of a number of publications on international basic education, including Teaching Communities to Educate Girls in Balochistan and Creating a Sustainable Educational System in Botswana: Consultation and Partnership.

The Report Process

The U.S. Education for All (EFA) 2000 Assessment was prepared for the International Consultative Forum on EFA by an Academy for Educational Development team consisting of co-authors Edward Fiske and Barbara O’Grady and research associate Kate Pearson. The eight-member U.S. EFA 2000 Assessment Report Oversight Commission served in an advisory capacity, meeting three times over the course of preparing the report and providing valuable insights and information. However, the views expressed in Education for All: A Global Commitment do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the members of the Oversight Commission or the organizations they represent. AED also solicited and incorporated contributions to the report from members of the education and the development community.

ENDNOTES

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