Obama Would Not Count As A College Graduate Using Leading International Comparison

August 23rd, 2010

  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.

2 Responses

  1. […] U.S. has dropped from first to 11th in college completion, according to the OECD. But transfers don’t count as college graduates in U.S. statistics, reports Mike Kirst on The College Puzzle. President Obama, who earned a […]

  2. Gene Judson says:

    I love that you identify that the major problem with US graduation rates are low completion rates at community colleges. I am engaged in helping improve the rates. My biggest concerns are community college administrator’s lack of sufficient desire to do what is within their power (and budget) to partner in these efforts. Too much emphasis is on access and not enough on success.

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