restricted access Age Compositional Adjustments for Educational Participation Indicators

Educational behaviour varies by age. One implication of this fact is that the value of aggregate education indicators such as enrolment ratios is influenced by the age structure of the population through a pure composition effect. This phenomenon is not generally acknowledged in educational statistics, much less accounted for. The scant treatment the question of age distribution has received in this context has been limited to examining it as a source of measurement error when comparing administrative and survey data sources. By using an age-standardization technique, the authors show how this very common demographic tool can straightforwardly be applied to educational metrics and how doing so alters the results. They conclude that the effect on net and gross participation ratios is moderate in general, but where comparisons are made between contexts with different cohort growth or school attendance profiles, lack of attention to population structures could bias conclusions.