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Showing posts from November, 2015

The challenges of widening participation in PISA

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills
Claudia Costin
Senior Director, Education Global Practice, World Bank

Since 2000, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has been measuring the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students in over 70 countries. PISA does not just examine whether students have learned what they were taught, but also assesses whether students can creatively and critically use what they know.

Of course, such international comparisons are never easy and they aren’t perfect. But they show what is possible in education, they help governments to see themselves in comparison to the education opportunities and results delivered by other education systems, and they help governments to build effective policies and partnerships for improving learning outcomes.

But as the number of countries joining PISA kept rising, it became apparent that the design and implementation models for PISA needed to evolve to successfully cat…

How can we compare education systems that are so different?

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by Dirk Van Damme
Head of the Innovation and Measuring division, Directorate for Education and Skills


Imagine three families accidentally meeting in a bar of a hotel in a sunny tourist location. They start discussing the schooling of their children and their professional futures. One Danish couple has young children aged 11 and 14, both attending the ‘Basic School’. The Dutch couple thinks that the oldest son probably has not performed well in school because he seems to have been repeating some grades in primary school. Their own daughter is around 25 and is following a short programme at an institution of higher education, which the parents describe as an “associate degree”. The third couple, French, assumes that, given the girl’s age, this must be a kind of specialisation following the license. Their own son has a license, which the Danish and Dutch couples interpret as a master’s degree. The schooling of their respective children is clearly a sensitive topic, because none of the thr…

Got a question about education? Education at a Glance probably has the answer

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by Andreas Schleicher  
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills 


Does education really pay off? Has public spending on education been affected by the economic crisis? How are education and employment related?

You’ll find the answers to these and just about any other question you may have about the state of education in the world today in Education at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators, published today. Did you know, for example, that
tertiary-educated adults earn about 60% more, on average, than adults with upper secondary as their highest level of educational attainment? Or that between 2010 and 2012, as countries’ GDP began to rise following the economic slowdown, public expenditure on education fell in more than one in three OECD countries?

This year’s edition of the annual compendium of education statistics includes more than 100 charts, 150 tables and links to another 150 tables on line. It also contains more detailed analyses of participation in early childhood and tertia…

Are American students overtested? Listen to what students themselves say

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by Andreas Schleicher 
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills 

One of the claims one hears frequently these days is that American students have no time for learning because they are permanently subjected to standardised testing, while Finnish students, in turn, live in that paradise where high learning outcomes are achieved by everyone without any testing.

It is actually very hard to find comparative data on the prevalence of testing in OECD countries. So to explore this, we asked the principals of 15-year-old students who participated in the  PISA assessment how frequently their students take part in standardised tests. And over the years I have learned to trust the reports of students and principals on what actually happens in the classroom more than the claims of many experts

Here is what I found: 34% of 15-year-olds in the Netherlands said they take a standardised test at least once a month, 21% of students in Israel said so, and on average across OECD countries 8% of s…

Now more than ever

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

It is difficult for us here in Paris to think about much else beside the innocents who lost their lives last week during the senseless, brutal attack that shook our city. Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones; our spirit remains firmly fixed on the values we cherish: liberté, égalité, fraternité.

In the aftermath of these horrific events, fraternité becomes more than an ideal; it is the necessary glue that binds our societies together. It is in this context that we invite you to consider what PISA results show about the crucial role schools play in building our communities, particularly for immigrant students. A full report on this issue will be published in the near future.

Links: Helping immigrant students to succeed at school - and beyond
PISA in Focus No. 57 Can schools help to integrate immigrants? Mario Piacentini PISA á la loupe No. 57 L'école peut-elle aider á l'intégration des immigrés?
P…

Korea’s future prosperity depends on skills

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

The Korean economy has seen significant growth in the past decades.

However, much of the economic growth has been supported by intensive labour resource utilisation. Korean workers work the second longest hours among OECD countries. This is not sustainable in the long-term because Korea’s working age population is projected to decline from 2017 onwards. The growth rate of GDP per capita is on a downward trend.

Ensuring that Korea’s economy continues on the path to growth will mean raising employment levels and increasing the labour productivity of its workforce. Skills are central to both higher employment levels and productivity growth. Better skills, effective labour market policies and stronger incentives to work and hire can raise employment levels. And improving the quality and relevance of skills, as well as the effective use of skills in workplaces, is essential for increasing productivity.

Now is the time…