Showing posts from October, 2017

How PISA measures students’ ability to collaborate

by Andreas Schleicher Director, Directorate for Education and Skills
PISA 2015 Results (Volume V) Collaborative Problem Solving – Sample Question from EduSkills OECD
Late next month (21 November, to be exact) we’ll be releasing the results PISA’s first-ever assessment of students’ ability to solve problems collaboratively. Why has PISA focused on this particular set of skills? Because in today’s increasingly interconnected world, people are often required to collaborate in order to achieve their objectives, both in the workplace and in their personal lives. Working with others is not as easy as it sounds. One person might end up reproducing another’s work; poor communication and personal tensions between people might prevent a team from reaching its goal. So it’s worth finding out whether students today know what it takes to work (and play) well with others.
This month’s PISA in Focusdescribes what it means, according to PISA, to be competent in collaborative problem solving. Along wit…

The fork in the road towards gender equality

by Simon Normandeau
Statistician, Directorate for Education and Skills

Gender biases can be persistent. Too persistent. A simple exercise to illustrate the point: Picture a doctor or a professor. You will most likely think of a man. Now think of nurses and teachers and you are likely to imagine a woman. This unconscious gender bias is rooted in years of associating male and female attributes to specific roles in society. Inevitably, it also influences students’ career choices.
Gender differences in career aspirations are set early on. Children tend to mimic the social environment in which they grew up: boys are more drawn towards male-dominated fields while girls aspire to careers held by inspirational role models of their own gender. By the age of 15, boys and girls have already been regularly exposed to one of the most strongly gender-biased professions: teaching. On average across OECD countries, 83% of primary teachers are women; and this proportion shows no sign of shrinking anyti…

How can we tell if artificial intelligence threatens work?

by Stuart W. Elliott
U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

New technologies tend to shift jobs and skills. New technologies bring new products, which shift jobs across occupations: with the arrival of cars, the economy needed more assembly line workers and fewer blacksmiths. New technologies also bring new work processes, which shift skills in jobs: with the arrival of copiers, office workers needed to replace ink cartridges but not use carbon paper. Economic history is full of examples of new technologies causing such shifts.

Workers often worry that new technologies will destroy old jobs without creating new ones. However, economic history suggests that job destruction and creation have always gone together, with a shift in jobs and skills that leaves most people still employed.

Will artificial intelligence (AI) differ from past technologies in the way it shifts jobs and skills? To answer that question, we need to know which skills will be supplied by AI and w…

Teachers for tomorrow

by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

Anyone flying into Abu Dhabi or Dubai is amazed how the United Arab Emirates has been able to transform its oil and gas into shiny buildings and a bustling economy. But more recently, the country is discovering that far greater wealth than all the oil and gas together lies hidden among its people. If the country would live up to its ambition to be among the world’s 20 leading school systems, as measured by PISA, that would add over USD 5 600 billion to the economy over the lifetime of today’s primary school students, or the equivalent of 9 times the size of the UAE’s economy. That is because people with a solid foundation of knowledge, with creative, problem-solving and collaborative skills, and with character qualities such as mindfulness, curiosity, courage and resilience, make a so much greater contribution to economic and social progress.

The trouble is that the UAE has been slow to invest in the people who can di…

Different, not disabled: Neurodiversity in education

by Tracey Burns
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Feeling out of place. Too big, too short, too wise, too ignorant – these are all situations Gulliver experiences in Jonathan Swift’s classic of English literature. Gulliver’s Travels give us an idea of how important our environment is when it comes to defining ourselves. It also gives us a 19th century look into the very modern concept of diversity.

Diversity in the classroom includes differences in the way students' brains learn, or neurodiversity. Diagnoses of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) have risen dramatically in the last two decades. This is not an issue that is isolated to a few countries: ADHD diagnoses have increased dramatically in Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Similar patterns are seen in the prevalence of ASD, which occurs…

What today’s teachers need to know

by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

I’ve often said that the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. How, then, do teachers become really good at their jobs? One important way is by learning from one another – across classes, across schools, and yes, even across countries. That’s why the OECD is a knowledge partner of the 2017 Qudwa Global Teachers’ Forum, which is being held in Abu Dhabi on 7 and 8 October. The Forum is bringing together more than 900 teachers from 83 countries to discuss “Teaching for Tomorrow”.

The focus of the forum couldn’t be more timely. According to reports by the World Economic Forum, one-third of the skillsets required to perform today’s jobs will be entirely redundant by 2020. And experts assert that nearly two-thirds of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that do not yet exist. The dilemma for teachers is that the kinds of things that are easiest to teach and e…

Why teaching matters more than ever before

by Stavros Yiannouka, CEO, WISE – World Innovation Summit for Education and Andreas Schleicher, Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

Teaching and learning lie at the heart of what it means to be human. While animals teach and learn from each other through direct demonstration, observation and experience, humans are unique in their ability to convey vast quantities of information and impart skills across time and space. We are also, as far as we know, unique in our ability to engage in and convey our thinking around abstract concepts such as governance, justice and human rights.

Technology has always played an indispensable role in this process. Starting with language and then writing, humanity was able to separate the process of teaching and learning from the constraints of direct demonstration, observation, and experience. The invention of paper and ink, and then the printing press, exponentially increased the quantity of knowledge that could be captured, stored, and dissem…

Closing Italy’s skills gap is everyone’s business

by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

Italy is the birthplace of Leonardo, Galileo and Armani. For centuries, skilled Italians have been recognised for their contributions to the world’s art, science, and culture. A relatively small country, with scarce natural resources, Italy today is among the world’s leading industrialised economies and is home to millions of firms, including many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), who play a prominent role in many key global value chains. So the skills of Italy’s population matter. Not only for their own country, but also for their contribution to the future prosperity and well-being of the global community. 
Italy’s future prosperity depends upon the skills of its people
Today, Italy is facing a skills gap. OECD Surveys measuring the skills of 15 year-olds (PISA) and adults between the ages of 16 and 64 years old (Survey of Adult Skills, PIAAC) have detected a significant shortfall in skills  compared with ot…

Why innovation becomes imperative in education

by Dirk Van Damme 
Head of the Skills Beyond School Division,  Directorate for Education and Skills

Since Harvard economists Goldin & Katz published their ground-breaking book The Race between Technology and Education (2008), education has come face-to-face with the challenges of a world continuously altered by technological innovation. Education is generally perceived to be a laggard social system, better equipped to transmit the heritage of the past than to prepare for the future. This perception is not entirely accurate; OECD/CERI work on Measuring innovation in education (2014) demonstrates that education is a system that is not change-averse.

From a historical perspective, education has adjusted to the needs and opportunities of the 2nd Industrial Revolution, for example by introducing natural sciences into the curriculum – although it took many years for that to happen. Will education have the luxury of time to confront the current wave of technological change and innovation?…