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Dealing with International Comparative Survey Instruments in the Field of Education and Occupational Status: Challenges and Achievements

Coordinator 1Dr Alexandra Mergener (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)

Session Details

Over the past decades, the number of international comparative approaches and studies in the fields of educational and occupational research increased substantially. Even if these approaches lead to tremendous insights into these research fields and are helpful to reflect and interpret the results of one’s own country from another perspective, there are challenges and sometimes limitations in achieving (effectively) comparable results. Different cultural and economic settings lead to a diverse understanding of concepts. Especially in case of education and occupational status, there are system specific characteristics researchers have to deal with in every country. Those hinder measurement, harmonization and finally comparison of concepts.
With international classifications, scales or indices of education and occupational status (e.g. ISCED, CASMIN, ISCO, ISEI, SIOP, EGP), there are survey instruments which should enhance the international comparability. Nevertheless, it has been shown, for instance, that the ‘International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED)’ or ’years of education’ measure the educational attainments in cross-national surveys inadequately, as they do not sufficiently capture the distinct value of vocational training in some countries. Additionally, surveys could ask for occupations or the occupational status in a different way (e.g. asking for job titles or job tasks), depending on the national concept und understanding of occupations.
Thus, in the proposed session we are going to look for contributions focusing on experiences with the international comparability of classifications of education and occupations or occupational status. We are interested in the ways researchers handle the coding of different educational and occupational variables and how they transfer them in international classifications. What kind of analytical approaches could enhance the international comparability? Survey researchers who are active in these fields of research are welcome to present their (recent) studies and their strategies to deal with it or to discuss existing problems and challenges with the international comparability of these survey instruments.