The prior blog expands on the validity issues that cause concern about the OECD comparisons of college completion for the major countries in the world. The decline of USA has several causes, but one is that US statistics do not count college transfers as college completers. President Obama transferred from Occidental College in L os Angeles to Columbia where he graduated. He would not count as a college graduate in the OECD comparative tables. Moreover, different countries submitted different cohort spans to OECD. So some countries were advantaged by the cohort time that they used.
All of this is very complex, and Clifford Adelman featured in the prior blog recommends that national authorities in OECD shape and agree on the types of data that can be rolled into valid and reliable indicators that cross national borders. Analysts need to be very careful in how they discuss the alleged drop of USA from first to 11th in the past decade in various measures of college completion. We have major problems with completion, but so do other countries. Our completion rate for associates and two year technical degrees is the major cause of low international rankings.