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New Report Highlights Education Around the World
posted by: Megan | November 30, 2010, 03:45 PM   
The report was based on over 200 interviews with system stakeholders and analysis of some 600 interventions carried out by these systems. Researchers at McKinsey & Company believe this is the most comprehensive study of school systems around the world. Not only does the research have a database of systems, the report identifies the reform elements that can be implemented in the future.

One main focus was the recognition of three different approaches to education reform. Among the focuses, process was key to improvement according the comprehensive research, as ultimately improving the learning experience in the classroom is the ultimate goal.

School systems do three types of things to achieve this goal – they change their structure by establishing new school types, altering school years and levels; they change their resources by adding more education staff to schools or by increasing funding; and, they change their processes by modifying curriculum and improving the way that teachers instruct and principals lead. Although all three are important, process changes are the most effective according to the research.

For example, teachers in these "good to great" systems establish teacher career paths whereby higher skill teachers increasingly take on responsibility for supporting and cultivating skills in younger teachers. These support networks have shown that collaborative practice becomes the main mechanism both for improving teaching practice and making teachers accountable to each other.

Some of the most interesting changes have taken place due to changed circumstances that have ignited reforms. In studied systems, one or more of three circumstances produced the conditions that triggered reform: a socio-economic crisis; a high-profile, critical report of system performance; or a change in leadership. Interestingly all three are in play in the United States.

Leadership is an interesting component of the research as we continue to see headlines in this country over education leaders and mayoral control. In some of the most successful systems there has either been a strong leader in power for over six years or a change in power with no interruption of long term reform goals.

Although imposing reform on schools system often seems like a daunting task, time is on our side. According to the research some of the most successful gains can be completed in a six year time frame. In Latvia for example, students in 2006 demonstrated performance that was half a school-year advanced to that of students in 2000 under certain reforms.

The reality is that in the U.S., despite record-level spending, students from 16 countries outperform their American counterparts. It is critical to leverage best practices around the world to improve our education system.

The full report can be read here.

What are your thoughts on the findings? Can we learn from school systems abroad?
Comment below.



Originally  posted by Alix on AAE’s website.

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