What a California school survey can tell us about measuring social and emotional skills

By Thomas Toch and Raegen Miller
Guest authors

Educators across the globe increasingly agree that the social and emotional dimensions of learning are critical for a student’s success – a trend that is underscored by the OECD’s forthcoming Study on Social and Emotional Skills. But there is little consensus around how to measure these important factors – and how to strengthen them.

A consortium of six urban school districts in California has taken a pioneering approach to measuring social and emotional development, using school climate surveys to assess how students feel about their experiences at school and how they view themselves as learners. The consortium, known as the CORE Districts, initially planned to integrate the survey results as part of systems to rate schools. Instead, they’re now trying to harness the information they collected to improve student performance.

One major finding from the annual study, which involved nearly one million students, is that girls lose their self-…

How do teachers respond to diverse classrooms?

By Aakriti Kalra
Consultant, Directorate for Education and Skills

Demographic change and large-scale migration have raised important challenges for education systems today, as teachers and school leaders work to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. Research shows that students’ cultural and ethnic backgrounds, native languages and immigrant status are strongly linked to inequalities in educational achievement. But a better understanding of how teachers, schools and education systems respond to diversity could help close the gap.

This is why classroom diversity is a major area of focus in the upcoming OECD Teaching and Learning Survey (TALIS). Slated for release in June 2019, the third cycle of TALIS is based on questionnaires that were circulated across 200 schools and 4,000 teachers in nearly 50 countries. The questionnaires collect information on various aspects of teachers’ work and learning environments, including their experience in diverse classrooms.

Our surve…

Reducing the immigrant gap in education: What Sweden can learn from other countries

By Francesca Borgonovi
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

For decades, Sweden has served as an exemplary model for integrating immigrants. The country’s well-developed integration system, together with its innovative and effective education sector, have helped immigrants and refugee students to feel more at home in their new country. But Sweden faced new challenges in 2015, when it began seeing a large inflow of new arrivals. More than 440,000 people immigrated to the country between 2015 and 2017, adding significant pressure to its integration system and its education sector, in particular.

Large-scale international assessments have shed light on some of the difficulties that Sweden faces in meeting the needs of immigrant students, who still lag behind their native-born counterparts in academic and well-being outcomes. According to PISA 2015, 76% of native-born students achieved the PISA benchmark proficiency levels in reading, mathematics and science, compared to ju…

What the fourth industrial revolution could mean for education and jobs

By Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

It’s so much easier to educate students for our past, than for their future. Schools are inherently conservative social systems, and as parents, we become anxious when our children learn things that we don’t understand – especially when they no longer study things that were so important for us. Teachers are more comfortable teaching how they were taught, rather than how they were taught to teach. And politicians can lose an election over education, but rarely win support over it, because it takes much more than an election cycle to translate good intentions into better results.

But the world is changing fast. The charity Education and Employers recently asked some 20,000 primary school children to draw their own future, and the opportunities children see for tomorrow are amazing. At the OECD, their report has inspired us to look at the future of education and jobs more systematically. We will present our findings…

The future of education is now

By Tracey Burns
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

and Joshua Polchar
Policy Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

There is no shortage of challenges facing the world today. Conflict and instability are driving waves of migration, prompting political responses that range from open to hostile. Inequalities are rising and wages are stagnant in many OECD countries, a phenomenon widely blamed for public discontent. Trust in government is at its lowest in decades. Societies are more connected than ever, but also more divided and polarised – and many of our online interactions are tainted by anger, misinformation and cyberbullying.

When discussing such a wide array of diverse and complex problems, it is astonishing how often people come to a single, clear and convincing solution: better education. We certainly believe in the power of education to transform the world for the better. But in our rapidly changing world, education cannot rely on lessons of the past to prep…

How is students’ motivation related to performance and anxiety?

By Jeffrey Mo
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has extensively measured student achievement for more than 15 years, but there’s more to student success than academic performance. Parents and educators today are increasingly concerned about the emotional well-being of children and teenagers, which is why we expanded the PISA student questionnaire to better measure these variables.

This month’s PISA in Focus takes a closer look at two components of student well-being: motivation and anxiety. Motivated students consider themselves ambitious, want top grades and want to have a broad choice of opportunities when they graduate from school. Such students tend to perform better in class, according to findings from PISA, but for some, academic success comes at the expense of greater anxiety.

In 2015, we asked 15-year-old students in 55 education systems around the world about their motivation to achieve, both in school and i…

TopClass episode 14: How will technology and A.I. affect education?

By Amar Toor
Digital Communications Officer, Directorate for Education and Skills

Technology has changed the way societies function, and schools will need to adapt in order to prepare students for the technology-rich environments they will face. But the gadget-filled modern world is still relatively new, and understanding how education should respond to it is still a work-in-progress. The influence of artificial intelligence, in particular, deserves serious consideration from educators.

In this episode of our TopClass podcast, we sit down with Yuhyun Park, founder of the DQ (Digital Intelligence Quotient) Institute, and Ruben Laukkonen, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Amsterdam, to discuss the effects technology and A.I. might have on schooling worldwide.

Listen to the latest episode below, or on iTunes and Stitcher. And be sure to subscribe to receive new podcast episodes as soon as they're released.