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Showing posts from May, 2016

Towards better tools to measure social and emotional skills

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by Anna Choi
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills
, OECD

Koji Miyamoto
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills
, OECD

Common sense and hard evidence point to the significant impact of socio-emotional skills such as perseverance and responsibility on children's lifetime success. Empowered children are much more likely to finish college, maintain healthy lifestyles and be happy. Both parental and teacher experiences as well as emerging studies also underlie that social and emotional skills can be particularly malleable from childhood until adolescence.

The OECD report: "Skills for progress report" shows that American high school students who were at the highest decile of social and emotional skills distribution are 4 times more likely to self-report completing college than those who are in the middle decile (median). Needless to say, a growing number of evidence indicate how these skills can have lasting positive effects on a wide-range of outcomes, such as li…

How can the Netherlands move its school system “from good to great”?

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by Montserrat Gomendio
Deputy Director, Directorate for Education and Skills


A new OECD review of the Netherlands education system offers a roadmap towards excellence. Netherlands 2016: Foundations for the Future, based on data from both PISA and the Survey of Adult Skills, confirms that the country already enjoys a high-quality and highly equitable education system. But it also identifies areas that need to be improved as the country moves its education system, in the words of Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker, “from good to great”.

The Dutch school system is highly stratified, and uses early tracking extensively. For a long time the Netherlands has made this complex school system work well for students: students performed well at school, socio-economic status had a relatively weak impact on performance, and were readily employable when they completed their schooling  (the number of young people who are neither employed nor in education or training is amo…

No gain without (some) pain

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by Bonaventura Francesco Pacileo
Statistician, Directorate for Education and Skills

When Tim Duncan, captain of the the US National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Spurs, was spotted wearing a T-shirt saying “4 out of 3 people struggle with math”, everyone realised that he was counting himself among those who have a hard time with fractions, making the joke even funnier. What is less funny, though, is that PISA 2012 results show that more than one in four 15-year-old students in OECD countries are only able to solve mathematics problems where all relevant information is obvious and the solutions follow immediately from the given stimuli.

As a professional basketball player, Tim Duncan would probably agree that hard work is a prerequisite for attaining individual goals. Working hard is also important in education. According to this month’s PISA in Focus and the recently published report Low-performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How to Help Them Succeed, most low-performing s…

Going beyond education policies – how can PISA help turn policy into practice?

by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills



How Do We Stack Up? Using OECD'S PISA to Drive Progress in U.S. Education from EdPolicy Leaders Online.
How are policy makers in the United States using data to help districts maximise their impact? And, what tools do districts need to work together in order to build stronger communities?  The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in the United States has transferred a great deal of autonomy to states and districts. These local authorities are now responsible for transforming state and federal policies into strategies and practices that guide teaching and learning in the classroom. This allocated autonomy creates opportunities for states and districts to collaborate, but also adds an element of the unknown, since most decisions used to be taken at the federal level. Data are crucial to understanding the effect policies have on education systems at a local level. But, collecting the right kind of data can be challenging…

Time, working and learning

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by Viktoria Kis
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Seven years is the right length for apprenticeships – thought Queen Elizabeth I of England as she lifted her feather to sign the Statute of Apprentices in 1563. Seven years would ensure that everyone benefits: apprentices would receive good training and masters would gain from their apprentices’ labour – although it must be admitted that back then, many apprentices died before finishing their training or ran away from masters who starved them.
Today policy makers, employer and employee representatives have different considerations in mind, but the dynamics of costs and benefits matter just as much. Those dynamics need to be built into the design of apprenticeships and other work-based learning to make it attractive to both employers and learners. A new OECD study funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, entitled Work, train, win: Work-based learning design and management for productivity gains casts a spotlight …

Latvia is determined to build on its progress in education

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills



In the 2012 PISA test, urban students in Latvia outperformed rural students by the equivalent of more than a year of schooling – half a year more than the average performance difference between these two groups of students across OECD countries. According to a new OECD report, Education in Latvia, giving equal access to a quality education, for students of all ages, must be a priority.
Latvia has made remarkable progress in improving its education system since independence in 1991. Children now start their education at a young age – younger than in many OECD countries – and many continue into tertiary education. Student performance has also improved significantly since 2000, to the point that Latvian students scored near the OECD average in the 2012 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Will Latvia be able to continue this positive trend? Yes, but only if the country raises its teaching standards…

Career education that works

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by Anthony Mann
Director of Policy and Research, Education and Employers Taskforce


The benefits of employers engaging with education has long been reported and promoted within policy circles. The UK’s Department for Education, for example, has recently produced guidance for schools stating the need for student learning from the world of work within careers provision. Internationally, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has reported the benefits associated with employer involvement in education. (See, for example: Learning for Jobs).

Despite international interest surrounding the topic, research has failed to keep pace with policy instincts that career education will benefit young people going into the labour market. In a new article, published in the peer-reviewed, international Journal of Education and Work, Elnaz Kashefpakdel and Chris Percy offer new insights into the relationship between career talks with outside people experienced whilst in school and …

Who pays for universities: taxpayers or students?

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



There are few issues in education that raise as much political and ideological controversy as tuition fees for higher education. Across many countries a broad consensus has developed that public education in the age of compulsory schooling should be free of charge. Even Adam Smith considered free public education for the young as a central obligation of the state, for which the cost should be shared through taxes. But the question of how to distribute the financial cost of education beyond the age of compulsory schooling – for early childhood education, adult education and training and/or, especially, higher education – has kindled heated debates in recent years, particularly as national budgets shrink and the cost of high-quality education balloons.

Education at a Glance has documented the shift towards greater private funding of higher education in many countries over the past years. …