Showing posts from February, 2016

Long-term wellbeing of European societies is at stake

By Natália Mazotte
Freelance Journalist, SGI News

Children and young people are among the biggest losers in the European economic and debt crisis. What do the staggering numbers in youth unemployment and child poverty in Europe mean for the future of this generation – and the continent as a whole?

While Europe continues to struggle to leave the legacy of the financial crisis behind, an entire generation is feeling the effects of the economic fallout most directly. The remarkable increase in youth unemployment since 2008 is perhaps the most disturbing sign of this scenario. In over a dozen European economies, youth unemployment remains today above 20%, and more than one in three unemployed young people have been looking for work for more than a year, according to the Global Employment Trends for Youth.

If you live in Spain or Greece, are between 15 and 24 years of age, and look for work, you are just as likely to be unemployed as to enjoy the privilege of a work contract. The situation …

How much time is spent on maths and science in primary education?

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

Primary school is a fundamental stage in children’s education. Yet it is often neglected in education research and policy debates, somehow squeezed between the seemingly more important stages of early childhood education and secondary education. The purpose of primary education is to build a solid foundation on which an entire life of learning can thrive. Cognitive processes such as working memory, attention, self-regulation, as well as character traits, communication skills, motivation and meta-learning attitudes grow enormously during the first years at school. And the primary school curriculum lays out the basic constituents of human knowledge by introducing students to its core disciplines.

Historically, the relative importance of the core subjects in primary school has always been a contentious issue. Many social interests and political opinions converge in the decision-making pro…

Why teacher professionalism matters

by Katarzyna Kubacka
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

If you were to search for the term teacher professionalism on the Internet, you may come across websites recommending professional dress code or “look” for teachers. Although this may be of some use to a new teacher, appearance is not what most policy makers, school leaders and teachers have in mind when they insist on the need for a quality professional teacher force.
So what exactly do we mean when we talk about teacher professionalism? The new Teaching in Focus brief: Teacher professionalism uses results from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) to show that teacher professionalism is about a teacher’s knowledge, their autonomy and their membership of peer networks. These are the key elements that lead to more effective teaching.
Based on the new OECD report: Supporting teacher professionalism: Evidence from TALIS 2013, the brief shows that different countries focus on different aspects of teacher …

Are we failing our failing students?

by Daniel Salinas
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Tens of thousands of students in each country, and millions of students around the world, reach the end of their compulsory education without having acquired the basic skills needed in today’s society and workplace. In fact, not even the countries that lead the international rankings of education performance can yet claim that all of their 15-year-old students have achieved a baseline level of proficiency in mathematics, reading and science. Apart from the obvious damage this does to individual lives, failure of this magnitude has severe consequences for economies and societies as a whole.

A new PISA report, Low-Performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How to Help Them Succeed, offers an in-depth analysis of low performance at school and recommends ways to tackle the problem.

Analyses show that a combination and accumulation of factors contribute to the likelihood that some students perform poorly in school. Coming fr…

On target for 21st-century learning? The answers (and questions) are now on line

by Tue Halgreen
Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills
Research Assistant, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Put your pencils down. No, the test isn’t over; it might just be starting: the PISA-based Test for Schools has gone digital.
School leaders are calling the PISA-based Test for Schools one of the better indicators out there of how well students are prepared for 21st century learning. It’s a wake-up call as to whether a school’s students are ready to compete on the global market. When asked what students like about the test, one responded: “The questions were relevant to today’s society.”

The PISA-based Test for Schools (known in the United States as the OECD Test for Schools) was developed by the OECD to provide school leaders and teachers with internationally comparable performance results as well as tangible insights on how to leverage improvements. Whereas PISA, the triennial international survey testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old…