ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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The International Standard for Coding of Education (ISCED) and DDI Lifecycle

Hilde Orten, Joachim Wackerow

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 6 - Law Building, Room 022
Date: 2012-07-12 01:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-04


Educational systems vary substantially between countries in terms of structure and curricular content. The structure of the educational systems has changed substantially over the last years, educational systems becoming increasingly more complex over time. Different approaches have been developed in order to solve the problem of comparable measurement of education. The most advanced attempt at creating a systematic international framework for classification of educational programmes and qualification is UNESCO's The International Standard for Coding of Education (ISCED).

Over the last year not only has ISCED has been implemented in the statistical reporting of national and international statistical agencies like UNESCO, the OECD and Eurostat. The 1997 version of the standard, that has been the current version of ISCED up to recently, is very complex and does not contain a separate coding framework for educational attainment. Despite of this, several larger surveys, like the EU- Labour Force Survey, EU-SILC, the European Social Survey as well as the European Values Study, have implemented more or less detail versions of ISCED 1997 as a standard for the measurement of educational attainment cross-nationally. At it's 36th general conference, held in November 2011, the UNESCO approved its new version of the International Standard Classification of Education, ISCED 2011. The new version of ISCED contains two 3-digit coding frameworks; one for educational programmes and one for educational attainment.

The current presentation gives a brief introduction to ISCED and its application in cross-national surveys, and point at challenges related to documentation of survey variables based on ISCED. Main focus will be put on how metadata elements from ISCED usefully can be structured for reuse in the metadata standard DDI Lifecycle (DDI 3 branch of the Data Documentation Initiative). DDI Lifecycle has a storing module called a resoucrce package, that structures materials for publication that are intended to be reused by multiple studies, projects, or communities of users. If ISCED metadata elements are included in a DDI resource package, they can be reused by reference national and international statistical agencies, as well as by cross-national surveys, across the stages of the data lifecycle.