US President Obama has launched one of the world’s most ambitious education reform agendas. Under the heading “Race to the Top”, this agenda encourages US states to adopt internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace: recruit, develop, reward, and retain effective teachers and principals; build data systems that measure student success; and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices and turn around their lowest-performing schools.
But what does the “top” look like internationally? How have the countries at the top managed to achieve sustained high performance or to significantly improve their performance? The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides the world’s most extensive and rigorous set of international surveys assessing the knowledge and skills of secondary school students. This volume combines an analysis of PISA with a description of the policies and practices of those education systems that are close to the top or advancing rapidly, in order to offer insights for policy from their reform trajectories.
Table of contents:
Chapter 1. Introduction -A changing yardstick for educational success -Overview -Framework for analysis -What is PISA and what can we learn from it? -How can PISA be used to help improve educational systems? -Reserach methods employed for the country chapters Chapter 2. Viewing Education in the United States through the Prism of PISA -Learning outcomes -Equity in the distribution of learning opportunities -The learning environment in the classroom and at school -How schooling is organised -Assessment and accountability arrangements -Assessment policies and practices -Resources -References Chapter 3. Ontario, Canada: Reform to Support High Achievement in a Diverse Context -Introduction -The Canadian education system -Canadian success in education -Canadian success in educating immigrant children -The Ontario experience -Lessons from Ontario -Where is Canada on the education continuum? -Final observations -References Chapter 4. Shanghai and Hong Kong: Two Distinct Examples of Education Reform in China -Introduction -China's education system: The cultural context -China's education system: The historical context -Teachers and teaching -Continuous curriculum reform -Shanghai: A leader in reform -Hong Kong's education system: One country, two systems -Achievements and challenges in Hong Kong's education system -Lessons from Shanghai and Hong Kong -Final observations -References Chapter 5. Finland: Slow and Steady Reform for Consistently High Results -Introduction -History of the Finnish education system -Finnish success in education -Future challenges for Finnish education -Lessons from Finland -Final observations -References Chapter 6. Japan: A Story of Sustained Excellence -Introduction -The Japanese education system: Historical and social context -The key features of Japan's education system today -How Jápan's education system is changing to meet today's challenges -Lessons from Japan -Where is Japan on the educational continuum? -References Chapter 7. Singapore: Rapid Improvement Followed by Strong Performance -Introduction -Singapore's education system: The path to becoming a learning nation -Sinapore's success in education -Future challenges for Singapore's education system -Lessons from Singapore -Where is Singapore on the educational continuum? -References Chapter 8. Brazil: Encouraging Lessons from a Large Federal System -Introduction -Brazil's education system: A brief history -Reform takes shape -Industry perspectives on education in Brazil -Case studies of state education reform --State of Acre --State of Ceará --State of Sâo Paulo -Lessons from Brazil -Where is Brazil on the educational continuum? -Final observations -References Chapter 9. Germany: Once Weak International Standing Prompts Strong Nationwide Reforms for Rapid Improvement -Introduction -A historical perspective -The German education reforms -Understanding the impact of the German education reforms -Lessons from Germany -Where is Germany on the education continuum? -References Chapter 10. vignettes on Education Reforms: England and Poland -England: Tackling teacher shortages -Poland: Secondary education reform -References Chapter 11. Lessons for the United States -Introduction -Learning from high-performing education systems -America's assets