OECD, June 2009
OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) provides 'the first internationally comparative perspective' on the conditions of teaching and learning, based on data from over 70,000 middle years teachers and school principals in OECD countries. In most countries, the large majority of teachers are satisfied with their jobs and feel they make a significant educational difference to their students. They are also investing in professional development as part of a wider repertoire of pedagogic strategies. However, three-quarters of teachers report receiving no recognition for increasing the quality of their work or for being more innovative in their teaching. Effective teaching should be better supported and informed through teacher appraisal and feedback. TALIS also highlights the need for better and more targeted professional development, namely in the areas of qualification programs and individual and collaborative research. The most significant challenge is the improvement of teaching practice. Teachers in most countries report using traditional structured, teacher-oriented much more than student-oriented practices such as adapting teaching to individual needs. They are unlikely to use enhanced learning activities that require students to engage in higher order thinking. TALIS suggests that effective school leadership can make an important contribution in shaping teachers' development. In schools with strong instructional leadership, principals are more likely to use further professional development to address teachers’ weaknesses. These schools often demonstrate better student–teacher relations, greater recognition for innovative teaching practices, more emphasis on developmental outcomes of teacher appraisals, and more collaboration between teachers. Closely related factors such as a positive school climate, teaching beliefs, cooperation between teachers, job satisfaction, professional development, and the adoption of a range of teaching techniques indicate that public policy can actively shape the conditions for effective learning. At the same time, much of the variation in these relationships lies in differences among individual teachers, rather than among schools or countries. This underlines the need for individualised and targeted programs rather than the whole-school or system-wide interventions that have traditionally dominated education policy.
Subject HeadingsEducational evaluation
Teaching and learning
In the context of a globalised, competitive market, students need to develop high-level skills critical for the creation of new knowledge, technologies and innovation. The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) assesses the knowledge, skills and attitudes of learners from OECD countries, and explores how these data relate to individual students, schools and education systems. Top achieving countries include Finland and New Zealand, with 20% and 18% respectively of student top achievers, compared with an OECD average of 9%. A quarter of top performers come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and, in some countries such as Japan, Finland and Austria, one-third of top performers come from low socioeconomic contexts, indicating that some systems are particularly conducive to high achievement regardless of background. Female students achieve as highly as male students, and native speakers achieve higher test results than non-native speakers. Full text is available online.
Key Learning AreasScience
Subject HeadingsSecondary education
In the USA, standards-based reforms focusing on monitoring, accountability and the alignment of schools toward common goals have become widespread. This report addresses the history of the standards-based reform movement; past and current research about the influence of standards-based reform on educational practices, including increasingly high-stakes test-based approaches; and future policy directions. Full text is available online.
Subject HeadingsEducation policy
United States of America (USA)
Australian Flexible Learning Framework, 2 March 2009
The vocational education and training (VET) sector in Australia is currently being reformed in light of new policy on employability skills, such as self-management, planning and organising, problem solving, communication, teamwork, initiative and enterprise, and use of technology. Consultations and case studies indicated that a number of e-innovations are taking place to facilitate employability skills learning. Successful e-learning for employability skills development and reporting requires consideration of assessment and reporting, management, and pedagogical elements. Full text is available online.
Subject HeadingsVocational education and training
Personalisation in curriculum design and teaching practices is discussed from the perspective of the school leader. The book is designed to help schools devise aims and objectives for curriculum and teaching innovations, and to inform longer-term curriculum planning. Topics include curriculum innovation and education policy, curriculum innovation debates, partnerships for learning, the role of new media in education, and the need for the curriculum to take into account social, cultural and economic changes. Full text is available online.
Subject HeadingsIndividualised instruction
Teaching and learning
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, March 2009
This report summarises research on the quality of marking in England's national curriculum tests. Marking is discussed in terms of sources of bias, the effect of different types of assessment on marking reliability; and identification and evaluation of remedial measures to detect or correct unreliable marking. Baselines for quality marking and proposals for future marking are discussed. Full text is available online.
Subject HeadingsOfficials and employees
In the USA, federal involvement in education assessment and accountability has increased with recent key legislation. This report aims to provide a framework to consider the extent to which the federal government should be involved in testing, and what the aim of these tests should be. Five approaches ranging from full to no federal control are presented, with accompanying analysis regarding the potential influence of these approaches on instruction, accountability and curriculum. The results indicate that current testing measures are designed only to support accountability functions, not instructional or curricular initiatives, and the author argues that any rethinking of federal involvement in testing should consider the appropriate degree of federal involvement, and the intended measurement outcomes of accountability tests. Full text is available online.
Subject HeadingsUnited States of America (USA)
Education and state