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Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education
Lessons from PISA for Japan
OECD Publishing , Publication date:  29 Mar 2012
Pages: 208 , Language: English
Version: Print (Paperback) + PDF
ISBN: 9789264118515 , OECD Code: 982011061P1
Price:   €60 | $84 | £54 | ¥7800 | MXN1080 , Standard shipping included!
Availability: Available (Print on Demand)
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Other languages:  Japanese (Distributed by another publisher)
Other Versions:  E-book - PDF Format

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For decades Japan has remained at or near the top of international assessments of student learning; and in the past decade, students in Japan have become more engaged in learning. However, the government aspires to improve learning outcomes even further. Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for Japan focuses on how Japan is reforming its education system not only to produce better learning outcomes, but to equip students with the skills they need to navigate through the unpredictable labour market of the future and to participate in society as active citizens.

This is the second in a series of reports examining how education systems are handling the challenge of preparing their students for a world of interconnected populations, rapid technological change, and instantaneous availability of vast amounts of information. Like the first volume, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States, this report presents examples from other countries with consistently high-performing education systems or countries that, by redesigning policies and practices, have been able to improve their education outcomes, as measured by the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the world’s most comprehensive and rigorous survey of students’ skills and attitudes towards learning.


Table of contents:

Introduction
-A changing yardstick for educational success
-About this report
-Country comparisons
-Framework for analysis
-What is PISA and what can we learn from it?
-How can PISA be used to help improve education systems?
-Research methods employed for the country chapters
Chapter 1. How is Technology Changing Demand for Human Skills?
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Complex communication 
-Expert thinking 
-The educational and training implications of advanced skills 
-Advanced skills and foundational skills
Chapter 2. Viewing Education in Japan Through the Prism of PISA
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Consistently high mean performance among 15-year-olds
-Relative shares of top-performing students: Above the OECD average and, in reading, an increase over time
-Relative shares of poor-performing students: Below the OECD average and stable over time 
-- A favourable context for student achievement
-Equity in the distribution of learning opportunities 
-- Growing differences in performance among schools
--Equal access to resources
--In Japan, students’ socio-economic background has a weak impact on learning outcomes
--Other factors related to poor student performance that emerge from PISA
-Has a demanding education system adversely affected students’ mental health?
-Other learning outcomes: Student engagement, strategies and practices 
--Using effective learning strategies
--Digital reading
--A comparison of student computer use at home and at school
-The learning environment 
--Weak – but improving – student-teacher relations
--Excellent – and improving – disciplinary climate 
--Positive attitudes and behaviour among teachers
-How the Japanese education system is organised and education policies 
--Moderate spending on education combined with effective spending choices
--Competition among schools 
--Balance of public and private education 
--Growing reliance on private tutoring 
--Nearly universal pre-primary education 
--Autonomy in curricular decisions
--Setting standards and accountability arrangements
--Low levels of differentiation and emphasis on heterogeneous classes
Chapter 3. Finland: A Non-Competitive Education for a Competitive Economy
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Introduction
-Finnish education: A brief history 
--Inauspicious beginnings: 1917-1970
--From backwater to watershed: Systemic reform in the 1970s
--A world-class education system: Finland today
-Five drivers of successful reform
--A focus on equity and well-being 
--Teachers who are highly valued and highly trained 
--Smart accountability policies 
--A culture of trust 
--Sustainable leadership and political coherence
-Education and national economic competitiveness 
--Specific policies and desired practices for skills in a competitive knowledge economy
-Lessons from Finland 
-- High-quality teachers 
--Highly efficient policies
--Diagnosis and early intervention 
--Creativity
--Deep sectoral reforms
-The challenge ahead
Chapter 4. Singapore: Thinking Ahead
-Introduction
-Singapore's education system: The path to becoming a learning nation 
--The survival-driven phase (1959-1978) 
--Efficiency-driven phase (1979-1996)
--Ability-based, aspiration-driven phase (1997-present)
--Current structure
-Singapore’s success in education 
--A forward-looking, integrated planning system 
--Close links between policy implementers, researchers and educators 
--Policies and the means to implement them 
--The advantages of a small scale 
--Commitment to equity and merit 
--A strong focus on mathematics, science and technical skills 
--Human resource management that matches the demands of the system 
--A system that is continuously being improved
-Lessons from Singapore
-Preparing Singaporeans for the future 
--Curriculum 2015 
--Teacher preparation for the 21st century
-Challenges and needs
Chapter 5. Ontario: Harnessing the SkillS of Tomorrow
-
Introduction
-Understanding the Canadian system
-Canadian success factors
-Ontario: reforming for the future 
--Focusing on a few clear goals 
--Building support among teachers, unions, and other stakeholders 
--Creating the structures for solid implementation 
--Reforming literacy and numeracy in elementary schools 
--Reducing high school dropouts 
--Avoiding top-down mandates and clarifying roles 
--Cultural support for universal high achievement by a diverse population
--A coherent system based on shared understanding and common purpose 
--A strong focus on educator quality 
--Strong and persistent leadership 
--Enhanced professional accountability
-Harnessing the skills of tomorrow, in both students and teachers 
--Strategies for developing critical thinking 
--Allowing children to customise their education 
--A focus on big ideas 
--Collaborative inquiry for teachers’ professional development 
--An emerging focus on creativity in assessment
-Lessons from Ontario
Chapter 6. Shanghai and Hong Kong: Learning to Learn
-
Introduction
-The cultural context 
-- Cultural paradoxes
-The historical context 
--Ideology-driven systems: 1905 to 1976 
--The reconstruction of education: the late 1970s onwards 
--The system today
Shanghai: a leader in reforms 
--How education is practised 
--Reform strategies: from teaching to learning 
--Achievements and challenges
-Hong Kong’s education system: one country, two systems
--Evolution of Hong Kong’s education system 
--The drive for reform 
--Achievements and challenges
-Lessons from Shanghai and Hong Kong 
--Building legitimacy 
--Breaking away from tradition 
--Root and branch reform versus superficial improvement
--A focus on learning
--A holistic approach
--Accountability
-Final observations: Education for economic success
Chapter 7. Policy Lessons from and for Japan
-
Introduction
-Japan’s past reform trajectory
--The Tokugawa era: 1603 to 1868
--The first great education reform
--The second great education reform 
--The third great education reform
-Key strengths of education in Japan and policy challenges to maintain these strengths 
--A commitment to education 
--A conviction that all students can achieve at high levels 
--An emphasis on values
--Ambitious educational standards that are shared across the system and aligned with high-stakes gateways and effective instructional systems
--Effective approaches to instruction
--A high-quality teaching force
--A centralised education system in some ways, but one that is decentralised where it matters
--Maintaining a balanced approach to accountability
--Developing accountability through social norms
--Investing in education from the start 
--Effective school-home communication 
--Balanced resource-allocation priorities 
--Careful attention to school-to-work transition
-Concluding remarks
Annex
-
Key features of PISA 2009

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