ECES aimed to explore, describe, and analyze the provision of early childhood education across countries and how it contributes to children's outcomes. It provided a framework for countries to benchmark their early childhood education systems in an international context. The study was conducted from 2014-2015.
The target population for the assessment module consisted of children attending center-based education and care in the final year of ISCED 0.
Participating Education Systems
Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Poland, Russian, and United States.
The international study coordination of ECES was managed by a consortium consisting of three partner institutions: IEA, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in England and Wales and the Centre for Research in Early Childhood in England. These partners worked in close cooperation with the national research coordinators of participating countries.
For more information, please visit the ECES website.
Initially planned as a three-phase project, the IEA Language Education Study aimed to describe the policies and curricula for language education and assess student achievement in language learning. Due to lack of funding, only Phase 1 on the policy context was completed.
Phase 1 of the study focused on providing "national profiles" of language education in participating countries, including language policies, curricula, opportunities for language use and learning outside of school, and characteristics of teachers. In 1995, data were collected on four languages commonly taught as a school subject: English, French, German, and Spanish.
Information was gathered for two key points in secondary schooling: the end of compulsory schooling (15- to 16-year-old students in most countries) and the end of upper-secondary schooling (17- to 18-year-old students).
Participating Education Systems
Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and United States.
In most of the countries, students first received instruction in a foreign language in elementary school. In many cases a second foreign language was also offered or required at the elementary school level. In Thailand, English was a compulsory subject in the first grade. In Austria and Italy, compulsory foreign language instruction began at the third grade.
The most often taught foreign language was English, followed by French and German. In border regions, however, the first foreign language was often that of a neighboring country.
In the majority of participating countries, more than 50% of foreign language teachers had a degree qualification in the language they taught. Some countries, however, reported a shortage of foreign language teachers.
The Preprimary project was a longitudinal study designed to explore the quality of life of preschool children in the various care and educational environments provided for them, and to assess how these environments affected their development.
Phase 1 produced profiles of national policies on the care and education of young children, and applied a household survey to identify and characterize the major early childhood care and educational settings used by families with four-year-old children in each country. Phase 2 explored the impact of programmatic and familial factors on the development of children at age four using extensive observational and interview methods. Phase 3 completed the project by documenting how early experiences affected children's development at age seven. The purpose of this final phase was to examine the relationship between early childhood experiences at age four and children's cognitive and language development at age seven, all of which were relevant to primary school performance and success.
The data for Phase 1 were collected in 1987–1989, Phase 2 in 1992, and Phase 3 in 1995–1997.
The study assessed over 5000 four-year-old children (with a follow-up at age seven) in nearly 2000 educational settings.
The International Coordinating Center was HighScope Educational Research Foundation.
COMPED aimed to describe and analyze various aspects of the introduction and use of computers in participating countries.
The study was designed as a two-stage survey. Stage 1 was a descriptive survey that investigated computer use at the elementary, lower-secondary, and upper-secondary levels. It focused on how computers were used, the extent and availability of computers in schools, the nature of instruction about computers, and estimates of the effects that computers had on students, the curriculum, and the school as an institution. Stage 2 of the study consisted of two parts. The first part was a follow-up of Stage 1 and studied changes over time. The second part involved assessing the effects of schools, teachers, and classroom practices on student outcomes in the domain of computer usage in schools (functional computer knowledge, skills, and attitudes).
In both stages, questionnaires were given to school principals, computer coordinators, and teachers (both computer-using teachers as well as teachers who did not work with them). In Stage 2, data were also collected from students via a functional information technology test, attitude questionnaire, and background questionnaire. The COMPED Stage 1 data collection occurred in 1989 and Stage 2 in 1992.
The populations of interest were students in the grades in which the modal age was 10 years and 13 years (fifth and eighth grades, respectively, in most countries), and students in the final year of secondary education.
Participating Education Systems
Stage 1: Austria, Belgium (Flemish), Belgium (French), Canada (British Columbia), China, France, Germany (FRG), Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, and United States.
Stage 2: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Thailand, and United States.
The international coordination center was the University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, working in close cooperation with the IEA, and the national centers of participating countries.
Computer usage in schools
Rapid changes occurred between 1989 and 1992 in the percentage of schools that had access to computers in all participating countries and at all grade levels. The increases were the result of governmental programs, as well as support by local communities and the efforts of individual schools.
In both 1989 and 1992, the major use of computers in school was for teaching about computers, their applications, and how to handle them. Only a minority of students used computers regularly as a part of their instruction in the subjects of mathematics, science, and mother tongue.
Opportunities provided outside of school were a major factor that influenced student learning about computers. At all three school levels, students' computer-related knowledge was only weakly associated with the level of opportunity they had to acquire that knowledge in school.
In 1989, computer use in schools was male dominated in most of the participating countries. Only the French-speaking systems and Greece employed special gender-related policies on computer usage in the majority of schools. These policies consisted of training female teachers in computer education and selecting females to supervise computer activities.
The amount of information teachers received in training courses was strongly related to their knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward computers. Staff development was one of the factors most strongly associated with the implementation of computers in schools.
This study examined levels of students’ reading literacy across countries, as well as the nature of reading instruction and the relationships between reading comprehension and aspects of home and school environment. The data were collected in 1990–1991. Two target populations were included in the study: nine-year-old students and 14-year-old students.
The international coordinating center for the Reading Literacy Study established within the Faculty of Education, University of Hamburg, Germany, worked in close cooperation with IEA, and the national centers of participating education systems.
The Written Composition Study examined the teaching and learning of written composition in schools in order to identify associated beliefs and conventions. The study also endeavored to find factors that would explain differences and patterns in the performance of written composition and other outcomes, with particular attention paid to cultural background, curriculum, and teaching practices. Six types of writing were assessed (reflective, personal, philosophic, argumentative, persuasive, and literary) on the dimensions of style and tone, overall impression, content, and organization. Background information was gathered through questionnaires administered to students, teachers, and school principals. Data were collected in 1984–1985.
The study included three target populations: students near the end of primary schooling (10- to 12-year-olds), students near the end of compulsory schooling (15- to 17-year-olds), and students near the end of academic secondary school (17- to 19-year-olds).
The Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland served as the international coordinating center, working in close cooperation with IEA and the national centers of participating countries.