When setting objectives for education and training, and when defining qualifications, policy-makers are beginning to focus less on input factors (duration, location, method) and more on what a learner knows and is able to do at the end of a learning process – i.e. on learning outcomes. This gradual shift has underpinned many related EU policy initiatives over the past few years.

To examine the issues that arise from this shift, Cedefop has commissioned a 32-country comparative report, entitled Rhetoric or reality: The shift towards learning outcomes in European education and training policies and practices.

The preliminary findings of this report were discussed at a Cedefop conference held on 15-16 October 2007 in Thessaloniki. The conference examined policy reform in light of the learning outcomes approach and how the approach affects teaching and assessment.

The comparative report is expected to be completed by December 2007.