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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Population
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
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Planning Meeting on "Trends in Educational Outcomes in the United States:
Causes and Consequences from an International Perspective"

October 11, 2013
National Academy of Sciences
Keck Center, 500 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(Conference Room 110)

In recent decades, international comparisons have suggested a substantial slowdown in U.S. educational growth, especially relative to other countries. A number of other countries have shown large increases in the years of schooling of their populations while U.S. education attainment has until very recently largely stopped increasing. In addition, a number of other countries have shown striking performance on international tests while U.S. test scores continue at a middling level. In response to the concerns raised by such comparisons, the Committee on Population (CPOP) and the Board on Testing Assessment (BOTA) at the National Research Council would like to explore the possibility of a consensus study to examine recent trends in educational outcomes in the United States, compare them to the educational performance of other countries, and describe the insights that can be drawn from such comparisons. The study would consider growth at all levels of the system, including early childhood, K-12, and postsecondary education. The study would produce an authoritative report about the causes and consequences of the trends in U.S. educational outcomes, with recommendations to policymakers about key areas of concern and opportunities for improving education in the United States. This planning meeting will bring together U.S. and international subject matter experts to help establish a specific scope of work and an overall plan for a consensus study.  



 The objective of this planning meeting was to establish an overall plan for a potential National Research Council study on comparing educational outcomes in the United States with those in other countries.
12:30-12:40 p.m.Welcome and Introduction of Participants
Barbara Boyle Torrey (CPOP),
12:40-12:50 p.m.Organization and Goals for the Planning Meeting
Robert Mare (CPOP, BOTA), University of California, Los Angeles, Moderator
12:50-1:30 p.m.    Session 1: Trends in Educational Attainment and Achievement
Joshua Goldstein, University of California of California, Berkeley, Discussion Leader

In this session, participants will discuss trends in U.S. educational attainment (which typically includes measures of formal educational credentials) and achievement (which is usually measured using standardized tests of academic knowledge and skill) at different points in the education distribution. How could a study most feasibly address these broad issues of attainment and achievement? To what extent have educational outcomes in the United States been stalling compared to other countries?
1:30-2:10 p.m.Session 2: Determinants of Trends in Attainment and Achievement
Thomas DiPrete, Columbia University, Discussion Leader (Presentation)

In this session, participants will discuss the “demand” and “supply” side factors that may have contributed to trends in educational outcomes. The demand-side includes population-based factors such as changes in family structure, economic position and the affordability of education, and returns to education. The supply-side includes institutional factors relating to the provision of public education (at all levels) and in the quality of educational content (including STEM curricula). What are the key demand- and supply-side factors that should be addressed by a study, and how should it handle challenging issues of causal inference?
2:10-2:20 p.m.BREAK
2:20-3:00 p.m.Session 3: Consequences of Trends in Attainment and Achievement
Richard Murnane, Harvard University, Discussion Leader  (Presentation)

In this session, participants will discuss the consequences of trends in educational outcomes for economic productivity; social inequality and mobility; and other important social outcomes such as health, civic participation, and life satisfaction. What are the key domains that should be addressed by a study?
3:00-3:40 p.m.Session 4: International Comparative Approaches
Wolfgang Lutz (CPOP), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Discussion Leader (Presentation)

In this session, participants will discuss the appropriate population of countries to include for comparison in a study, and issues relating to cross-national comparability in the characterization of education trends and analyses of their causes and consequences.
3:40-3:50 p.m.BREAK
3:50-5:00 p.m.Summary of Meeting and Next Steps
Robert Mare (CPOP, BOTA), University of California, Los Angeles, Moderator
5:00 p.m.Adjourn




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