Policymakers need to understand the uses and abuses of the education system's principal diagnostic tools--educational indicators. Those in positions to use indicators and pay for their collection must understand what the realistic information returns are from investing in them. This paper from the Center for Policy Research in Education is designed to help education decisionmakers understand the legitimate roles indicators might play in monitoring the condition of the educational system, tracking changes over time, and anticipating future change. It defines educational indicators, explains their principal applications, describes some of their limitations, and reviews the current state of the indicator art.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Occasional paper (education) series. The occasional paper series was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1985 to 1992. It included the occasional paper education (OPE) and occasional paper Soviet (OPS), which was issued jointly by the RAND/UCLA Center for Soviet Studies (CSS) to facilitate the exchange of ideas among those who shared the research interests of the Center and of scholars participating in its research and seminar programs.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.