The general purpose of ISCAE is to increase the awareness and value and quality of comparative adult education. In particular the Society wants to encourage the growth of comparative adult education studies by:
promoting research in this area;
supplying a network of contacts to other comparatists;
documenting and sharing the developments and standards in publications;
facilitating the publication and distribution of comparative adult education studies;
organizing conferences and meetings for members and others interested in this area;
fostering thematic networks;
co-operating with other societies with similar aims.
ISCAE focusses its access to "international comparison" to two specific types of comparison (more):
1. "A study in comparative international adult education ... must include one or more aspects of adult education in two or more countries or regions. Comparative study is not the mere placing side by side of data ... such juxtaposition is only the prerequisite for comparison. At the next stage one attempts to identify the similarities and differences between the aspects under study ... The real value of comparative study emerges only from ... the attempt to understand why the differences and similarities occur and what their significance is for adult education in the countries under examination ..." (Charters/Hilton 1989, p. 3).
2. In addition field- and method-reflections are seen as part of international comparative adult education: reflections about the methods, strategies, and concepts of international comparison, and summarizing reports about developments in the international comparative field on a material or meta level.