Teacher and Leader Effectiveness in High-Performing Education SystemsReport (PDF)
March 16, 2011
The issue of teacher effectiveness has risen rapidly to the top of the education policy agenda, and the federal government and states are considering bold steps to improve teacher and leader effectiveness. One place to look for ideas is the experiences of high-performing education systems around the world. Finland, Ontario, and Singapore all have well-developed systems for recruiting, preparing, developing, and retaining teachers and school leaders, and all have attained high levels of student performance and attribute their success to their teacher-effectiveness policies. This report examines lessons from these high-performing systems that the United States can apply, and provides detailed descriptions of the policies from each system.
The 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results were released by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) on December 7 in Paris, France. PISA is one of the few mechanisms for regularly and directly comparing the quality of educational outcomes in the seventy countries that make up almost 90 percent of the world's economy. PISA measures the capacity of fifteen-year-old students to apply what they have learned in the classroom in order to analyze, reason, and communicate effectively.
Relatively small improvements in students’ educational performance can have large impacts on a nation’s future economic well-being, according to The High Cost of Low Educational Performance: The Long-Run Economic Impact of Improving PISA Outcomes. PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment, was created by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) in1997 to monitor the outcomes of education systems in terms of student achievement on a regular basis and within an internationally greed-common framework. This PISA report, presented on January 28 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, uses economic modeling to relate cognitive skills (as measured by PISA) to economic growth. The report shows that achievable gains in educational performance yield tens of trillions of dollars in gains in a nation’s gross domestic product.
Common Standards: The Time Is Now Issue Brief (PDF)
December 17, 2009
After years of debate, the nation is now taking a bold step toward ensuring that all students graduate ready for college and careers. Under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, a panel has drafted a set of Common Core State Standards for college and career readiness. These standards will raise expectations for all students and will be the same no matter where students happen to live. That would represent a sea change in American education, one that is sorely needed. The wide variations that currently exist are unacceptable and are especially harmful to low-income students and students of color. All states and schools should expect every student to graduate from high school ready for college and careers. This brief outlines the need for common standards that are rigorous, clear, and focused and suggests ways that common standards will help lay the foundation for a stronger education system that will prepare all students for college and careers.
The chapter below is from Meaningful Measurement: The Role of Assessments in Improving High School Education in the Twenty-First Century Report
June 23, 2009
Andreas Schleicher of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development provides a brief introduction of the history of international assessments and describes the potential benefits of international assessments for educational policy and practice. He discusses some of the methodological challenges faced in providing valid, comparable, and reliable evidence, and offers recommendations to U.S. policymakers.
Short Sighted: How America’s Lack of Attention to International Education Studies Impedes Improvement Policy Briefs (PDF)
March 23, 2009
To future generations, Americans’ current educational myopia is likely to appear, at best, a negligent failure to anticipate and meet the needs of the nation and its citizens. And for the sake of those future generations, the short-sighted practices and parochial policies that have delayed significant improve-ment in the nation’s educational advancement must change. To provide students with a world-class education, the United States, beginning with strong leadership from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), must adopt a more global outlook. The tools and opportunities already exist; indeed, the United States has even subsidized their creation. Now the nation needs to participate in, learn from, and act on the results of internationally benchmarked assessments.
Facts For Education Advocates: International Comparisons (copublished with the College Board) Fact Sheets (PDF)
January 1, 2009
Recognizing that no tool is more important than information to help educators and other advocates improve the country’s educational system, the College Board and the Alliance for Excellent Education have formed a partnership to develop a series of fact sheets highlighting the state of American schools and their students.
The fifth in a multi-issue series provides a “Facts for Education Advocates” feature focusing on international comparisons in education.
From No Child Left Behind to Every Child a Graduate Report (PDF)
August 28, 2008
This report outlines the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Framework for Action to Improve Secondary Schools, which reflects the consensus among educators, researchers, policymakers, and other authorities on the specific problems of secondary schools, as well as on the research- and best-practice-supported solutions to those problems. Taken together, the seven policy areas contained within the framework offer a comprehensive and systemic approach to secondary school reform.
Dropouts, Diplomas, and Dollars: U.S. High Schools and the Nation’s Economy Report (PDF)
August 27, 2008
The United States can no longer absorb the costs and losses associated with an education system that produces more than 1.2 million dropouts every year. This report examines the impact of this crisis on the dropouts themselves, as well as its effect on the economy, social fabric, and security of the nation, states, and local communities.
International Comparisons of Academic Achievement Fact Sheets (PDF)
March 31, 2008
Over the past thirty years, the modern workplace has radically changed, and the demands on those making the transition from the classroom to the workforce continue to rise. Students from Birmingham and Boston no longer compete against each other for jobs; instead, their rivals are well-educated students from Sydney and Singapore. But as globalization has progressed, American educational progress has stagnated. Today, the United States’ high school graduation rate ranks near the bottom among developed nations belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And on virtually every international assessment of academic proficiency, American secondary school students’ performance varies from mediocre to poor.