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The Contribution of International Large-Scale Assessments to Educational Research: Combining Individual and Institutional Data Sources

Journal article
Authors Rolf Strietholt
R. Scherer
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research
Volume 62
Issue 3
Pages 368-385
ISSN 0031-3831
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 368-385
Language en
Keywords Comparative research, international large-scale assessments, methodology, in-differences evidence, school quality, countries, achievement, performance, opportunity, inequality, journals, outcomes, growth
Subject categories Educational Sciences


The present paper aims to discuss how data from international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) can be utilized and combined, even with other existing data sources, in order to monitor educational outcomes and study the effectiveness of educational systems. We consider different purposes of linking data, namely, extending outcomes measures, analyzing differences over time or across cohorts, and supplementing context information. These linking strategies are illustrated by a non-exhaustive selection of studies that exploited ILSAs to investigate a wide range of educational topics. We conclude that the main contribution of ILSA to educational research lies in the ways they facilitate analyses of educational policy and policy-related issues at the institutional level by means of cross-country analyses. However, the scope of these studies also covers high-quality data on lower levels of the educational system.

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