Educational attainment is both a driver of developmental processes and a key indicator of human development. Yet cross-national data on educational attainment for the post WWII era is spotty, despite significant efforts by the UN and several highly respected academic teams to compile it. Compounding the data availability problems in this area is the uneven distribution of missing information across regions of the world: the highest rates of missing data are in Africa and the post-Soviet states. This situation is lamentable because the uneven distribution of data has the potential to seriously skew efforts to understand the developmental role of education.
To address this situation the Cline Center initiated the Educational Attainment Project, which was directed by Peter F. Nardulli and ably implemented by Buddy Peyton, Joseph Bajjalieh and Yaa Opare. Members of this research team began with the most completed and highly regarded cross-national dataset on educational attainment. To extend this data archive they scoured national reports and websites, identified new sources of educational attainment data, extended established data estimation techniques, and developed new estimation procedures. The result is a new archive of educational attainment data that extends from 1950 (or independence) until 2005; it includes all 175 SID countries but nine (Albania, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, East Timor, Myanmar, North Korea, Oman, Solomon Islands and Suriname). This project is complete and a white paper details the procedures used and evaluates their validity.