Project Benefits

This project provides some major national benefits. One of those is in providing a critical framework for understanding international comparisons of school performance and student attainment. Most OECD nations participate in international surveys of student achievement, and the results of these surveys are used to judge the quality of school systems. The results of this project can be used in conjunction with international assessments of achievement, to provide broader information and guidance to educators and policy-makers taking into account differences in the organisation of school and curriculum systems.

Benefits to participating schools

Schools are under great pressure to prove their effectiveness. While the horizon has for some time been dominated by achievement and the quality of learning (often measured using narrow standardised tests), there is today also a growing official recognition that the wider “moral” and “career” work of schools needs to be captured.

In many systems, there is little data available at a school-level on the initial destinations of students. What happens to students when they leave school? How many continue in further study? How many successfully find jobs or enter work-based training? How many become unemployed? Some schools, even those with higher levels of dropout, sometimes complain that their students have successful outcomes through entry to other forms of productive study or work which the school facilitates but which is never acknowledged. This study will provide schools with an initial snapshot of destinations and some assessment of school productivity on this front.

The project provides schools with the opportunity to examine their impact on student lives internationally, i.e., how well they compare to schools in a broad international sample of schools. If schools receive a good “report card” in terms of wider cultural measures and good transition outcomes, this will be even more significant if international comparisons are made.

Benefits to education authorities

In many countries there is increasing policy concern regarding the social and civic impact of schooling as specified in the national goals for schooling. Organised at the level of the city, ISCY will provide information on quality of school experience, transition and adult outcomes as achieved by different groups of students. A longitudinal focus on cities provides valuable insight on students’ trajectories and integration into civic and economic life, but at a comparatively lower cost than that of a national longitudinal study. As a result of participation in the project, the education authority at the city and national level will be equipped with data on the following:

  • progression across upper secondary education
  • persistence and dropout
  • relative access to curricular programs
  • student performance within and across curricular programs
  • student aspirations for further study (and whether these are fulfilled)
  • entry to initial post-school study including university
  • the transition value of vocational options within school, and
  • the take-up and impact of alternative programs in non-school settings.

The education authorities of each participating city will receive an analysis of these aspects of progress towards citizenship developed by the international consortium of researchers.