The Institute of Higher Education policy released this month a new report by Clifford Adelman titled The Spaces Between Numbers: Getting International Data on Higher Education Straight (November 2009). In a recent post Kris Olds at the Global Higher Education Blog offers some comments on this and other recent reports on global higher education. As Olds points out, “the main target audience of this new report seems to be the OECD, though we (as users) of international higher ed data can all benefit from a good dig through the report. Adelman’s core objective is facilitating the creation of a new generation of indicators, indicators that are a lot more meaningful and policy-relevant than those that currently exist.”  Alderman is the author of a number of recent articles about the misleading use of quantitative data and research about higher education . Among those a very interesting article published at the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2006  the “Propaganda of Numbers” is worthwhile reading.

From the IHEP website

The research report, The Spaces Between Numbers: Getting International Data on Higher Education Straight, reveals that U.S. graduation rates remain comparable to those of other developed countries despite news stories about our nation losing its global competitiveness because of slipping college graduation rates. The only major difference—the data most commonly highlighted, but rarely understood—is the categorization of graduation rate data. The United States measures its attainment rates by “institution” while other developed nations measure their graduation rates by “system.”

Read full report here