Education Policy Outlook 2015

Education Policy Outlook 2015

Making Reforms Happen You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
19 Jan 2015
Pages:
316
ISBN:
9789264225442 (PDF) ; 9789264228535 (EPUB) ;9789264220942(print)
DOI: 
10.1787/9789264225442-en

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The Education Policy Outlook is designed to help education policy makers with reform choices. It addresses the need for improvement in education in a comparative manner, while taking into account the importance of national context. Through a review of different countries’ experiences in implementing education reform, the publication offers directions and strategies to facilitate future changes.

Given different national contexts, individual countries’ reform challenges cannot be simply transposed into a different country or system. Nevertheless, countries face many similar challenges and implement reforms in similar areas. The 2015 edition of the Education Policy Outlook provides a comparative review of policy trends. It explores specific reforms adopted across the OECD over the past seven years to help countries learn from one another and choose the reforms best adapted to their needs and context.

The Education Policy Outlook will be of interest to policy makers, analysts and education practitioners alike.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements

    Governments increasingly look at how to achieve ambitious reforms in education to improve results. But such changes are not easy to make: education change takes time, options for improvement may not be evident, groups with vested interests may hamper reforms, and politicians may face conflicting priorities or lack evidence on what can work best within the context. Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen is designed to support governments move education systems forward by providing policy makers with choices to help formulate and implement policies.

  • Acronyms
  • Editorial

    Recovery from the financial crisis has been slow and national governments are working hard to tackle unemployment, address inequality and promote competitiveness. Increasingly they are turning to education in seeking to restore long-term and inclusive economic growth. It was estimated in 2010 that bringing all countries up to the average performance of Finland, one of the OECD best performing education system in PISA, would result in financial gains in the order of USD 260 trillion over the lifetime of those born in that year.

  • Executive summary

    Across OECD countries, more than 12% of public spending is invested in education. Yet as international surveys like the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show, there is considerable variation in how that money is spent and the outcomes it produces. This first edition of the Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen aims to help policy makers and other stakeholders in education learn how their peers in other countries respond to common challenges, from teaching diverse student populations to instituting measures that render schools accountable for the quality of the education they provide. The report offers a detailed look at some 450 education reforms that were adopted across OECD countries between 2008 and 2014. While these policies were developed in specific contexts, they can serve as inspiration for policy makers who are looking for effective ways to improve their own education systems.

  • Policy options for better education

    Across OECD countries and beyond, the need for innovation, knowledge and skills to promote growth and development is well recognised. Inequalities are intensifying, with youth employment growing and the more disadvantaged falling behind in some countries (OECD, 2014a). Governments face increasing pressure to define and implement education policies, as they seek to improve the quality, equity and effectiveness of their education systems. They understand that more resources do not necessarily mean better outcomes – those resources need to be invested in the best possible ways. To respond to their concrete contexts and challenges, policy makers need better access to information on the full range of policy options available.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Trends

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    • Equity and quality in education

      What kinds of policy options do policy makers have to deliver equity and quality in education? This chapter discusses the context, main issues and policy options adopted across OECD countries to promote equity and quality in education and raise student outcomes. Policies that combine equity and quality refer to those focused on ensuring that personal or social circumstances do not hinder achieving educational potential (fairness) and that all individuals reach at least a basic minimum level of skills (inclusion). They comprise investing in early childhood education and care (ECEC), tackling system-level policies that may hinder equity (such as grade repetition, unsupported school choice or early tracking) and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The chapter reviews policies adopted across OECD countries between 2008 and 2014 in a comparative approach, drawing mainly from the Education Policy Country Snapshots (), Education Policy Outlook Country Profiles, and OECD comparative and country-specific analysis. The reforms vary across countries, as they are influenced by context, traditions, institutional settings and specific national or regional challenges. They have been grouped according to the different policy options and their scope.

    • Preparing students for the future

      What kinds of policy options do policy makers have to prepare students for the future? This chapter discusses the context, main issues and policies adopted across OECD countries to promote development of skills required for post-secondary education or for entering the labour market. The policies examined comprise those ensuring effective completion of upper secondary education, delivering quality vocational education and training (VET), improving the quality of tertiary education, and strengthening and facilitating transitions across education pathways and into the labour market. The chapter reviews policies adopted across OECD countries between 2008 and 2014 in a comparative approach, drawing mainly from the Education Policy Country Snapshots (), Education Policy Outlook Country Profiles, and OECD comparative and country-specific analysis. The reforms vary across countries, as they are influenced by context, traditions, institutional settings and specific national and regional challenges. They have been grouped according to the different policy options and their scope.

    • School improvement

      What kinds of policy options do policy makers have to enhance the quality and delivery of education in schools? This chapter discusses the context, main issues and policies adopted across OECD countries to promote school improvement. School improvement policies refer to those that strengthen the delivery of education in schools to positively influence student achievement. They comprise policies to promote the development of adequate learning environments and relevant curriculum, effective school leaders and high-quality teachers.The chapter reviews policies adopted across OECD countries between 2008 and 2014 in a comparative approach, drawing mainly from the Education Policy Country Snapshots (), Education Policy Outlook Country Profiles, and OECD comparative and country-specific analysis on education systems. The reforms vary across countries, as they are influenced by context, traditions, institutional settings and specific national and regional challenges. These policies all aim to improve the quality of schools and instruction and have been grouped according to the different policy options and their scope.

    • Evaluation and assessment to improve student outcomes

      What kinds of policy options do policy makers have to enhance evaluation and assessment to improve student outcomes? This chapter discusses the context, main issues and policy options adopted across OECD countries to develop better evaluation and assessment policies. Evaluation and assessment policies can contribute to raising the quality of institutions by providing detailed information and identifying areas for improvement. They comprise policies which seek to measure performance and understand improvement for better school and student outcomes through system evaluation, internal and external school evaluation, and student assessments.The chapter reviews policies adopted across OECD countries between 2008 and 2014 in a comparative approach, drawing mainly from the Education Policy Country Snapshots (), Education Policy Outlook Country Profiles, and OECD comparative and country-specific analysis on education systems. The reforms vary across countries, as they are influenced by context, traditions, institutional settings and specific national and regional challenges. The policies all aim to improve the quality of schools and student performance and have been grouped according to the different policy options and their scope.

    • Steering education systems

      What kinds of options do policy makers have to steer education systems effectively? This chapter discusses the context, main issues and policies adopted across OECD countries to steer education systems. They comprise governance and funding policies and approaches that ensure effective and efficient delivery of education systems. The chapter reviews policies adopted across OECD countries between 2008 and 2014 in a comparative approach, drawing mainly from Education Policy Country Snapshots (), Education Policy Outlook Country Profiles, and OECD comparative and country-specific analysis on education systems. Reforms vary across countries, as they are influenced by context, traditions, institutional settings and specific and regional challenges. The policies all aim to improve the governance and funding of the education system and have been grouped according to the different policy options and their scope.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts A special focus on reforms

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    • Evaluation and assessment reforms in schooling

      Which factors do policy makers need to keep in mind when designing and implementing evaluation and assessment policies? This chapter presents common factors across OECD education systems that contribute to successful evaluation and assessment policies, as identified from the research literature and from programmes implemented in recent years. Reviewing past evaluation and assessment reform experiences can help policy makers seeking to design and implement reforms in this area.The chapter focuses on policy making and implementation in three policy areas: student assessment for learning, school self-evaluation and system evaluation. Each area reviews the main purposes and contextual features of evaluation and assessment, identifies key elements of successful policy design and explains, through the analysis of past reform experiences, which practices and factors can contribute to efficient policy implementation.

    • Growing and sustaining innovative learning environments

      Which factors do policy makers need to keep in mind when designing and implementing policies to grow innovative learning environments (ILE)? This chapter presents common factors across OECD education systems that contribute to develop successful innovative learning environments, as identified from the research literature and from ILE programmes implemented in recent years. Reviewing past experiences in innovative learning environments can help policy makers seeking to design and implement reforms. This chapter focuses on policy making and implementation in innovative learning environments. It defines and reviews the main purposes and contextual features of ILEs, identifies the key elements of successful policy design and explains, through the analysis of past reform experiences, which practices and factors can contribute to efficient policy implementation.

    • Implementing school improvement reforms

      Which factors do policy makers need to keep in mind when designing and implementing school improvement policies? This chapter presents common factors across OECD education systems that contribute to successful school improvement policies, as identified from the research literature and from the programmes implemented in past years. Reviewing past school improvement reform experiences can help policy makers seeking to design and implement reforms in this area. This chapter discusses policy making and implementation of school improvement programmes. It describes main purposes and contextual features of school improvement programmes, identifies the key elements needed for successful policy design, and explains, through analysis of past reform experiences, which practices and factors can contribute to efficient policy implementation.

    • Education union partnerships in policy reforms

      This chapter presents an overview of the views of teacher unions on their contribution and engagement with governments on education reforms. It draws on responses from organisations representing teachers in 19 countries to a survey conducted in 2013 by the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC). The chapter discusses findings on teachers’ commitment and engagement in education reforms, particularly in the areas of teachers’ working conditions, professional development and setting teaching standards. It reports the views of teachers and their unions on their level of engagement in both policy development and policy implementation, and the policy areas in which they are successfully engaged.

    • Ensuring constructive co-operation with employers

      This chapter presents employers’ views on education policies and their engagement in policy making. The chapter draws on responses from employer representative organisations from 27 countries to a survey conducted in 2013 by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC). The chapter reports on the education policy areas in which employers seek further actions to better meet their needs, such as improving student career guidance and vocational education and training. It also reviews the potential channels for employers’ engagement in education policy making, such as participation in multi-stakeholder bodies, consultation processes and informal dialogue, and presents recommendations on ways to improve co-operation with the private sector on education policy.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Country notes

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    • Education policy country snapshots

      This chapter presents snapshots of education policies in OECD countries. Designed for policy makers, analysts and practitioners who seek information and analysis of education policy taking into account the importance of national context, these country snapshots offer an overview of education policy in a comparative format, presenting context, key issues and goals, and recent policies and reforms for each OECD country. These snapshots are based on the analytical framework developed for the Education Policy Outlook, which draws on the OECD knowledge base on education policies in member countries. The framework organises quantitative and qualitative knowledge on education policy in terms of: a) raising student achievement for all (through equity and quality and preparing students for the future); b) enhancing the quality of institutions (through school improvement and better evaluation and assessment policies); and c) steering education systems (through governance and funding). The reforms presented were generally introduced between 2008 and 2014. The information is drawn mainly from country responses to an Education Policy Outlook Snapshot Survey, Education Policy Outlook Country Profiles and OECD comparative and country-specific analysis and statistics on education systems.

    • Australia

      This policy profile on education in Australia is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biannual publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Canada

      This policy profile on education in Canada is part of the Education Policy Outlook series, which presents comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series also includes a biennial publication (first volume in 2015). It offers a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Chile

      This policy profile on education in Chile is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennial publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Czech Republic

      This policy profile on education in the Czech Republic is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biannual publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Denmark

      This policy profile on education in Denmark is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennial publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Finland

      This policy profile on education in Finland is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennial publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Germany

      This policy profile on education in Germany is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennial publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Ireland

      This policy profile on education in Ireland is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biannual publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Mexico

      This policy profile on education in Mexico is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennial publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Netherlands

      This policy profile on education in the Netherlands is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which presents comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennial publication (first volume in 2015). It offers a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • New Zealand

      This policy profile on education in New Zealand is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biannual publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Norway

      This policy profile on education in Norway is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennual publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Portugal

      This profile on education policy in Portugal is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which presents comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series contributes to a biennial publication (first volume in 2015). It offers a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Spain

      This policy profile on education in Spain is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennial publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • Turkey

      This policy profile on education in Turkey is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biennual publication (first volume in 2014). It will develop a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

    • United Kingdom

      This policy profile on education in the United Kingdom is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which presents comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series includes country profiles and a comparative report (first volume in 2015). It offers a comparative outlook on education policy by providing: a) analysis of individual countries’ educational context, challenges and policies (education policy profiles) and of international trends and b) comparative insight on policies and reforms on selected topics.

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