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By means of this report, the World Bank aimed to produce one of the first globally comparable data sets on student achievement. To do so, the present report is based on a data set that measures the cognitive achievement of 128 countries (including 40 countries from the developing world) from 1965 to 2010. The data set is based on international achievement tests such as PISA or TIMSS. As developing countries do not participate in international assessment tests, those were linked to regional assessments (e.g. the South and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ)) by using countries that participated in both as reference points. The data show that increased schooling is not synonymous to increased educational achievement, but that key drivers are civil rights, democracy and economic freedom.