In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Education: Learning and Schooling Worldwide

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Video Sources
  • Journals
  • Variations in Lived Experiences in Schools
  • Life in Classrooms
  • Students’ Lives
  • Home, Community, and School
  • Decisionmakers beyond the School

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Childhood Studies Education: Learning and Schooling Worldwide
Kathryn M. Anderson-Levitt
  • LAST REVIEWED: 24 April 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 April 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0024


Colloquially, “education” usually means “schooling,” and thus this bibliography focuses on schooling, but it also considers education more broadly defined. Sections on schooling are limited to pre-primary, primary, and secondary education, excluding postsecondary even though some university students arguably fall on the border between childhood and adulthood. The interdisciplinary field of educational studies is largely an applied field and much of its literature is devoted to efforts to improve schooling; however, this bibliography identifies descriptive studies of actual practices and beliefs rather than prescriptions for reform. An important theme of literature identified here is that schooling has recently become among the most important settings in which children live and develop, meaning that the current global form of schooling as well as variations in schooling “on the ground” have huge consequences for children’s lives and powerful meanings for all of us.

Reference Works

Dozens of encyclopedias and handbooks cover the broad range of education topics in English and in other languages (van Zanten and Rayou 2017). Searching in a library catalogue or on the web using the key words “handbook,” “education,” “research,” and a broad interest such as “sociology” or “philosophy” will probably call up more than one reference book containing overviews of the research literature. See also Apple, et al. 2010; Hallinan 2000; and Levinson and Pollack 2011. Meanwhile, several international organizations maintain online databases and reports that provide a statistical overview of schooling around the world. To track what percentage of the world’s children now attend school, see the Global Education Monitoring Reports (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2002–present) produced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); to answer such questions as how much time children in a given country spend in school or what percentage of them go on to secondary or tertiary education, consult statistics at sites or webpages such as Education at a Glance produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Data on the much publicized and influential international tests of student achievement can be found at the OECD site and at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center site. The Indian NGO Pratham conducts an annual nation-wide survey of children’s learning and schooling across India (ASER).

  • Apple, Michael, Stephen J. Ball, and Luis Armando Gandin, eds. The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education. London: Routledge, 2010.

    Collection of articles edited by leading critical sociologists of education, with representation from India, Brazil, France, and other countries outside the English-speaking world.

  • ASER. Annual Survey of Education Report. Delhi: Aser Centre.

    Volunteers have conducted home surveys of children’s learning across India annually since 2005.

  • Hallinan, Maureen T., ed. Handbook of the Sociology of Education. New York: Kluwer, 2000.

    Collection of excellent articles, several from the world culture (neo-institutionalist) perspective.

  • Levinson, Bradley A. U., and Mica Pollack, eds. A Companion to the Anthropology of Education. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444396713

    Reviews of the literature on schooling, language, the state, and reform by leading anthropologists of education, many from the United States but with participation from Mexico and other countries.

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    Explore this annual report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for answers to such questions as “What proportion of national wealth is spent on education?” or “How much time do students spend in the classroom?” for forty-five nations. For a broader picture of the OECD’s work in education, see online.

  • TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center.

    Analyses of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS), 1995 through 2011, which tests fourth and eighth graders in more than sixty countries, and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), which has assessed fourth graders in more than fifty countries since 2001. Along with the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), these tests provoke soul-searching in nations worldwide.

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2002–present.

    See annual Global Monitoring Reports and Education for All Global Monitoring Reports for annual updates on progress toward equity in education since 2000. Click on “Publications” for reports from prior years.

  • van Zanten, Agnès, and Patrick Rayou, eds. Dictionnaire de l’éducation. 2d ed. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2017.

    A one-volume French-language resource for research in the educational sciences.

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