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Showing posts from December, 2015

Backpacks and belonging: What school can mean to immigrant students

by Marilyn Achiron 
Editor, Education and Skills Directorate


How school systems respond to immigration has an enormous impact on the economic and social well-being of all members of the communities they serve, whether they have an immigrant background or not. Immigrant Students at School: Easing the Journey towards Integration reveals some of the difficulties immigrant students encounter – and some of the contributions they offer – as they settle into their new communities and new schools.
Results from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) indicate that students with an immigrant background tend to perform worse in school than students without an immigrant background. Several factors are associated with this disparity, including the concentration of disadvantage in the schools immigrant students attend, language barriers and certain school policies, like grade repetition and tracking, that can hinder immigrant students’ progress through school.

But successful i…

A watershed for Scottish education

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by David Istance 
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

This is a watershed moment for Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence, say some of the country’s education stakeholders. They’re talking about the ambitious education reforms that were rolled out in Scotland’s schools five years ago. What better time for a review of the reforms? Improving Schools in Scotland: An OECD Perspective, published today, provides just that.

So what kind of watershed has Scotland’s education reform programme reached?

First, the programme is at a “watershed” as a statement of fact: the main curriculum programme has now been implemented, and the overhaul of teachers’ education and qualifications is nearly complete. This is watershed meaning “key transition moment”.

Second, it can be seen as a “watershed” as so much of the hard work of redesign has been accomplished and essential building blocks have been put in place. This is about unleashing the full potential of the Curriculum for Excellence af…

Learning about learning assessments

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

How do large-scale student assessments, like PISA, actually work? What are the key ingredients that are necessary to produce a reliable, policy relevant assessment of what children and young people know and can do with what they know? A new report commissioned by the OECD and the World Bank offers a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the largest of these assessments are developed and implemented, particularly in developing countries.

A Review of International Large-Scale Assessments in Education: Assessing Component Skills and Collecting Contextual Data provides an overview of the main international, regional, national and household-based large-scale assessments of learning. The report shows how the major large-scale assessments have several things in common that contribute to their reliability and relevance. For example, they each produce clea…

What students don’t want to be when they grow up

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by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Education and Skills Directorate

Who wants to be a teacher? As this month’s PISA in Focus shows, in many countries the teaching profession is having a hard time making itself an attractive career choice – particularly among boys and among the highest-performing students.

PISA 2006 asked students from the 60 participating countries and economies what occupation they expected to be working in when they are 30 years old. Some 44% of 15-year-olds in OECD countries reported that they expect to work in high-status occupations that generally require a university degree; but only 5% of those students reported that they expect to work as teachers, one of those professional careers.

The numbers are even more revealing when considering the profile of the students who reported that they expect to work as teachers. If you read our report on gender equality in education published earlier this year, you may remember that girls tend to favour “nurturance-oriented” careers more…

Opening up to Open Educational Resources

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

Technology has a profound impact on our lives. A few days ago, an inmate who spent 44 years
behind bars was released from prison and could not believe what he saw on the streets: people with wires in their ears using strange devices to talk to invisible friends. Maybe his confrontation with the modern world would have been less of a surprise if he had visited a school first.

Technology has indeed entered the classroom; but it has not yet changed the ways we teach and learn to the same extent that it has transformed our way of communicating in the outside world. In our private lives we freely share experiences, thoughts and feelings with friends all over the world; but in classrooms we tend to stick to the traditional carriers of knowledge – textbooks, which are certified for use by the bureaucracy and well-aligned to a prescribed curriculum.

But maybe this is about to change. Technolog…