Showing posts from April, 2013

Learning from other countries’ experiences in education

by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary-General

The data that the OECD collects can help countries map their strengths and weaknesses in education. But what’s the best way to address those weaknesses? Rather than prescribe actions, the OECD often prefers to show policy makers what everyone else is doing and how successful those initiatives have been. A new OECD series of individual Education Policy Outlook Country Profiles does just that: each profile describes how an individual country is responding to key challenges to improve the effectiveness of its education system. The idea behind the series is to offer policy makers easily accessible profiles of countries’ education systems, and the policies adopted to improve those systems, that could inspire reforms at home.

For example, the profile on Australia reports that, while the country is a top PISA performer and has high completion rates in upper secondary and tertiary …

Evaluation and assessment is for everyone

by Deborah Nusche and Claire Shewbridge
Analysts, Directorate for Education and Skills

Some may ask if all the time, money and effort invested in evaluation and assessment is worth it. The terms evaluation and assessment may strike fear into the hearts of some students, teachers and parents. Are they not just a way to control and constrain what goes in the classroom? Is this just not more unnecessary work for us? What on earth do they have to do with student learning?

A three-year comprehensive review of evaluation and assessment approaches around the world was brought to its grand finale in Oslo last week. The idea of the international meeting was for the OECD to put its own advice into practice: after conducting a major review of policies, do not put the results on a shelf but put them to good use. Bring stakeholders together, discuss the results of the evaluation exercise, and identify strategies to go forward. Already, over the past three years, countries that were reviewed by the …

Does it matter which school a student attends?

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills
Successful education systems guarantee that all students succeed at high levels. As this month’s PISA in Focus notes, some school systems not only do well on international assessments, like PISA, they also manage to minimise the difference between the best- and poorest-performing students.

In some education systems, most students have similar levels of proficiency; in others, student performance varies far more widely. Analyses of PISA results show that countries and economies can achieve high average performance without having wide disparities in student performance. In 10 out of the 17 countries and economies that have above-average performance in reading, variations in student performance are smaller than the average variation observed across OECD countries.

PISA finds that 40% of the variation in student performance is found between schools within an education system. What accounts for that variation?  A variety of fac…

Skills for the digital economy

by Simone Stelten
Consultant, Skills Beyond Schools Division, Directorate for Education and Skills
Digital economies are powered by skills. People with the high-end skills needed to invent and apply new technologies are in high demand the world over. At the same time, the portfolio of basic skills needed to navigate technology-rich environments and function effectively in our connected societies has expanded.

How severe is the shortage of ICT skills? And what needs to be done to fill the gaps?

Today, 6% of total employment in OECD countries consists of ICT-specialists and ICT-intensive occupations account for more than 20% of all employment. OECD data on Key ICT Indicators shows that countries differ considerably in the share of ICT-intensive employment, ranging from high levels such as 35% in Luxembourg or 28% in the UK to 15% in Portugal and Greece or 11% in Turkey (data for 2010). Growing skills shortages have become a global concern. The Manpower Talent Shortage Survey 2012 puts I…