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OECD PISA – Singapore tops latest global education survey

Singapore outperforms the rest of the world in the OECD’s latest PISA survey, which evaluates the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems. The top OECD countries were Japan, Estonia, Finland and Canada.

The OECD’s PISA 2015 tested around 540,000 15-year-old students in 72 countries and economies on science, reading, maths and collaborative problem-solving. The main focus was on science, an increasingly important part of today’s economy and society.

While spending per student in primary and secondary education increased by almost 20% since 2006 in OECD countries alone, only 12 of the 72 countries and economies assessed in PISA have seen their science performance improve over this period. These include high-performing education systems, such as Singapore and Macao (China), and low-performers, such as Peru and Colombia.

“A decade of scientific breakthroughs has failed to translate into breakthroughs in science performance in schools,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report in London. “Every country has room for improvement, even the top performers. With high levels of youth unemployment, rising inequality, a significant gender gap, and an urgent need to boost inclusive growth in many countries, more must be done to ensure every child has the best education possible.” Read the full speech.

Around 1 in 10 students across OECD countries, and 1 in 4 in Singapore, perform at the highest level in science. Across the OECD, more than one in five students falls short of baseline proficiency: only in Canada, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Macao (China), Singapore and Viet Nam do at least nine out of ten 15-year-old students master the basics that every student should know before leaving school.

This underlines the challenge that all countries, including some of the wealthiest ones, face in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 4 by 2030 to achieve “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

The report reveals the policies in place that successful countries share: high and universal expectations for all students; a strong focus on great teaching; resources targeted at struggling students and schools; and a commitment to coherent, long-term strategies.

Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Hong Kong (China) and Macao (China) achieve both high standards of excellence overall and equity in education outcomes.  A number of countries have improved equity, especially the United States. But in Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, New Zealand and the Slovak Republic, the share of students performing at the highest levels fell at the same time as the share of low performers rose.

“Achieving greater equity in education is not only a social justice imperative, it also fuels economic growth and promotes social cohesion,” added Mr Gurría.

The OECD PISA 2015 Survey underlines that, in the context of massive information flows and rapid change, everyone now needs to be able to “think like a scientist”: to be able to weigh evidence and come to a conclusion; to understand that scientific “truth” may change over time, as new discoveries are made, and as humans develop a greater understanding of natural forces and of technology’s capacities and limitations.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Singapore tops latest OECD PISA global education survey – OECD

What America Can Learn About Smart Schools in Other Countries

A year later, after their analysis is finished, team members gather in a small conference room at their Paris offices to guess which countries are which. It’s a parlor game of the high-nerd variety — or, as Mr. Schleicher put it, “a stress test of the robustness of our analysis.” NYT

When the team started this game back in 2003, it could predict about 30 percent of the variation in scores using its statistical models, Mr. Schleicher said. Now, the models can predict 85 percent of the variation.

Here’s what the models show: Generally speaking, the smartest countries tend to be those that have acted to make teaching more prestigious and selective; directed more resources to their neediest children; enrolled most children in high-quality preschools; helped schools establish cultures of constant improvement; and applied rigorous, consistent standards across all classrooms.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  What America Can Learn About Smart Schools in Other Countries – The New York Times

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