Building a world-class learning system: insights from some top-performing school systems

Autor(es): Masters, Geoff

Organisation(s): National Center on Education and the Economy (USA)

Publisher(s): NCEE

Date: 2023

Pages: 204 p.


This study of five different education systems - British Columbia, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong and South Korea - reveals key alignment across the goals that have shaped their learning systems to date. But these systems are not standing still. While the systems these jurisdictions have built over the last fifty years have yielded strong outcomes for students, they are concerned their current systems may not be adequate going forward. The author reports an increasing sense of urgency to transform to adequately prepare students for future work and life and to ensure equity of opportunity. System leaders across the globe - including those in high-performing jurisdictions - are grappling with how best to equip the next generation of students for a world facing unprecedented environmental, political and economic challenges, and one that is being transformed in real time by globalization and advancing technologies. What policies need to be in place for every child to experience an engaging and supportive learning environment that motivates not only high performance but a desire to keep learning? What do students really need to know and be able to do to thrive in a changing world? How can systems engage in ongoing improvement while also cultivating innovation? The book provides a framework for looking at learning systems comprehensively, with chapters focused on system aspirations; curriculum and assessment; student, teacher, and leader support; and the ecosystem that supports learning. It provides rich detail about the five systems in each area, pulling out key examples of how and why systems chose particular strategies and dilemmas they faced and still face. It describes how these systems are designing their school curriculum to be more inclusive, more focused on deeper learning, more applied and to incorporate more choice for students to make learning more engaging, relevant and self-directed. Approaches to teaching and assessment follow these trends, with efforts in particular to see assessment as supporting teaching and learning and documenting progress as well as attainment. The author includes questions at the end of each chapter to help draw insights from the experiences of these systems to inform work in our own systems, as that is the goal of the study and of NCEE’s work across the US and beyond.

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