1996-3777 (online)
1990-8539 (print)
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A series of reports on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) periodic testing program on student performance. The reports generally compare student (15 year olds) academic performance across countries, or discuss the methodology used to gather the data.

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PISA 2012 Results: What Makes Schools Successful (Volume IV)

PISA 2012 Results: What Makes Schools Successful (Volume IV)

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03 Dec 2013
9789264201156 (PDF) ;9789264201149(print)

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This fourth volume of PISA 2012 results examines how student performance is associated with various characteristics of individual schools and of concerned school systems. It discusses how 15-year old students are selected and grouped into different schools, programmes, and education levels, and how human, financial, educational and time resources are allocated to different schools. The volume also examines how school systems balance autonomy with collaboration, and how the learning environment in school shapes student performance. Trends in these variables between 2003 and 2012 are examined when comparable data are available, and case studies, examining the policy reforms adopted by countries that have improved in PISA, are presented throughout the volume.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements

    Equipping citizens with the skills necessary to achieve their full potential, participate in an increasingly interconnected global economy, and ultimately convert better jobs into better lives is a central preoccupation of policy makers around the world. Results from the OECD’s recent Survey of Adult Skills show that highly skilled adults are twice as likely to be employed and almost three times more likely to earn an above-median salary than poorly skilled adults. In other words, poor skills severely limit people’s access to better-paying and more rewarding jobs. Highly skilled people are also more likely to volunteer, see themselves as actors rather than as objects of political processes, and are more likely to trust others. Fairness, integrity and inclusiveness in public policy thus all hinge on the skills of citizens.

  • Executive Summary

    The organisation of learning environments is related to education outcomes. As in other organisations, decisions taken at one level in a school system are affected by decisions taken at other levels. For example, what happens in the classroom is influenced by decisions taken at the school level; and decisions taken at the school level are affected by the decisions – particularly those concerning resources, policies and practices – taken by district, regional and/or national education administrations.

  • Reader's Guide
  • What is PISA?

    "What is important for citizens to know and be able to do?" That is the question that underlies the triennial survey of 15-year-old students around the world known as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA assesses the extent to which students near the end of compulsory education have acquired key knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies. The assessment, which focuses on reading, mathematics, science and problem solving, does not just ascertain whether students can reproduce knowledge; it also examines how well students can extrapolate from what they have learned and apply that knowledge in unfamiliar settings, both in and outside of school. This approach reflects the fact that modern economies reward individuals not for what they know, but for what they can do with what they know.

  • How resources, policies and practices are related to education outcomes

    This chapter examines the relationships between education outcomes and various school and system characteristics, including the use of vertical and horizontal stratification, resource allocation, how the school system is organised and governed, and the learning environment in the school and classroom. Trends in these relationships up to 2012 are also discussed.

  • Selecting and grouping students

    This chapter discusses the ways in which students are selected and grouped into certain education levels, grade levels, schools, programmes and different classes within schools based on their performance. It offers an analysis of whether students in school systems with similar degrees of stratification share similar dispositions for learning mathematics, and examines how stratification practices and policies have changed since 2003.

  • Resources invested in education

    This chapter examines the allocation of human, material and financial resources throughout school systems and the amount of time dedicated to instruction and learning. Resource allocation is also discussed as it relates to school location, the socio-economic profile of schools, programme orientation, education level, and whether a school is public or private. The chapter also analyses changes since 2003 in the level of resources devoted to education and how those resources are allocated.

  • School governance, assessments and accountability

    This chapter explores the inter-relationships among school autonomy, school competition, public and private management of schools, school leadership, parental involvement, and assessment and accountability arrangements. The chapter also discusses trends since 2003 in school governance, assessments and accountability.

  • How the quality of the learning environment is shaped

    This chapter discusses student- and teacher-related aspects of the learning environment, including student truancy, teacher-student relations, the disciplinary climate and teacher morale. It also examines trends in school climate and student truancy since 2003.

  • Policy implications of school management and practices

    In the wake of the recent global economic crisis, countries need to structure and manage school systems efficiently to maximise limited resources. This chapter considers how policies related to the governance of school systems and the learning environment in individual schools are associated with performance in PISA and equity at the country / economy and school levels.

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