Proposal:ISCED 2011 Level of Education

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ISCED 2011 Level of Education
Proposal status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: Skorbut
Tagging: isced:2011:level=*
Applies to: node, area, relation
Definition: The level(s) of education of a school. Based on the ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) scale of 2011.

Draft started: 2022-05-14
RFC start: 2022-05-16


This is a follow-up to the rejected Proposed_features/ISCED_2011_Education_Programme proposal.

This proposal aims to remove the ambiguity associated to the tag isced:level=*. This existing tag denotes the level(s) of education a school is offering. The defintions of the levels are based on the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) framework. There are multiple versions of this framework: These versions are distinguished by the year of appearance, i.e. primarily 1997 and 2011. Unfortunately, isced:level=* does not specify the version/year that is being referred to. This proposal therefore introduces a new tag isced:2011:level=* for which the underlying framework version is explicitly defined as 2011. The status of the older tag isced:level=* remains unchanged by this proposal (i.e. it will NOT be automatically obsoleted or similar). Further, this proposal clarifies which values for key isced:2011:level=* are acceptable. ISCED 2011 is defined in

The isced:2011:level=* tag can be used on all elements that represent some kind of school (e.g. amenity=school, amenity=college, amenity=university), i.e. on nodes, (closed) ways and areas. The usage is therefore identical to isced:level=*.


Why a new tag? / Incompatibility to ISCED 1997

The initial discussion for tagging ISCED levels assumingly started at Talk:Tag:amenity=school#Level of education. Since early messages were exchanged before 2011, it is to assume that the original proposal referred to the 1997 version of the framework. However, mappers might unknowingly add keys that refer to the ISCED 2011 version. While the two are compatible to some part, there are nonetheless incompatibilities:

  • ISCED 1997 level 5 ("First stage of tertiary education") corresponds to ISCED 2011 level 5 ("Short-cycle tertiary education"), 6 ("Bachelor's or equivalent") or 7 ("Master's or equivalent").
  • ISCED 1997 level 6 ("Second stage of tertiary education") corresponds to ISCED 2011 level 8 ("Doctorate or equivalent").
  • Contents of level 3 and 4 were slightly adjusted.

In other words, isced:level=5 and isced:level=6 are ambiguous.

Why isced:2011:level=* instead of the previously proposed isced:level:2011=* ?

The page Key:isced:level proposed the usage of isced:level:2011=*. This proposal however says to use isced:2011:level=*. (Note the switched order of "2011" and "level"!) This is for the following reasons:



Basic Tagging

ISCED 2011 Level Full ISCED 2011 name OSM value Schools in the United States Schools in Germany
0 Early childhood education early_childhood Preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten Kindergarten
1 Primary education primary Primary education (1st–6th grades) Grundschule
2 Lower secondary education lower_secondary Middle education (7th–9th grades) Sekundarstufe I (Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium Kl 5-10, Berufsfachschule)
3 Upper secondary education upper_secondary Secondary education (10th–12th grades), General Educational Development (GED), High school Equivalency Programme Sekundarstufe II (Gymnasium Kl. 11-13, Berufsfachschule, Fachgymnasium)
4 Post-secondary non-tertiary education post_secondary Vocational certificate Programme Fachschule, Berufsoberschule
5 Short-cycle tertiary education short_tertiary Vocational Associate's Degree Programme Fachschulen (Meisterausbildung)
6 Bachelor's or equivalent level bachelor Bachelor, Post-bachelor (e.g. teaching), Post-graduate Universität (Bachelor), Fachhochschule (Bachelor), Fachschule (Technikerausbildung), Fachakademie, Berufsakademie
7 Master's or equivalent level master Master's, First professional Degree Programme Universität (Master, Diplom)
8 Doctoral or equivalent level doctor Doctorate (Ph.D.) Promotionsstudium

In order to decide on how to map a given school in a given country, consult UNESCO's country-specific ISCED mappings.

Ideally, mappers from each country will extract the respective information and document it on the wiki, as has been done here and at Key:isced:level#Conversion_of_local_terms.

Multiple Values

A university (amenity=university) offering Bachelor's and Master's degree as well as doctorates:

isced:2011:level=bachelor; master; doctor




Ordering of multiple values

If a school provides multiple ISCED levels, ascending order (according to numerical ISCED level value) is preferred.


isced:2011:level=bachelor; master



This proposal does NOT specify whether/how isced:level=* will be obsoleted. This shall happen in another proposal that will be written if and after the current proposal has been accepted.

The following information will be added to the wiki:

For mappers

For data consumers (both new and existing)

  • Data consumers may start or continue consuming isced:level=*, but need to be aware that
    • the number of OSM elements with this tagging may be decreasing (depending on further proposals)
    • the referred ISCED version is ambiguous
    • only levels 0, 1, 2, 6 of ISCED 1997 can be exactly matched to ISCED 2011 levels (see table below), meaning only values 0, 1, 2, 8 of isced:level=* can be used unambiguously
    • the ISCED 2011 document describes the correspondence of 1997/2011 levels in detail in section 10
  • Data consumers should start consuming isced:2011:level=*

The following table from the ISCED 2011 document (Table 19, page 63) describes the correspondence of 1997/2011 levels:

Correspondence between ISCED 2011 and ISCED 1997 levels
ISCED 2011 ISCED 1997
ISCED level 0 ISCED level 0
ISCED level 1 ISCED level 1
ISCED level 2 ISCED level 2
ISCED level 3* ISCED level 3
ISCED level 4* ISCED level 4
ISCED level 5 ISCED level 5
ISCED level 6
ISCED level 7
ISCED level 8 ISCED level 6
* Content of category has been modified slightly.

For authors of OSM editors

Features/Pages affected

External Discussions / References


Please comment on the discussion page.