Equity, Excellence and Inclusiveness in Education

Policy Lessons from Around the World

image of Equity, Excellence and Inclusiveness in Education

Excellence in education without equity risks leading to large economic and social disparities; equity in education at the expense of quality is a meaningless aspiration. The most advanced education systems now set ambitious goals for all students, focusing on both excellence and equity. They also equip their teachers with the pedagogic skills that have been proven effective and with enough autonomy so that teachers can use their own creativity in determining the content and instruction they provide to their individual students.

The fourth International Summit on the Teaching Profession brought together education ministers, union leaders and other teacher leaders from high-performing and rapidly improving education systems, as measured by PISA (the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment ). Their aim was to discuss equity, excellence and inclusiveness in education by exploring three questions:

• How are high-quality teachers developed, and how do schools with the greatest need attract and retain them?

• How can equity be ensured in increasingly devolved education systems? and

• What kinds of learning environments address the needs of all students?

To underpin the discussions, this publication identifies some of the steps policy makers can take to build school systems that are both equitable and excellent. The analysis is complemented with examples that illustrate proven or promising practices in specific countries.


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Creating learning environments that address the needs of all children

Using results from PISA 2012, this chapter shows how certain practices that select and sort students, like tracking and grade repetition, are often associated with students’ socio-economic status and with their performance in mathematics. The chapter makes the case for reducing the use of grade repetition and early tracking, identifying at-risk students and intervening early on, providing a continuum of support for struggling students, and holding high expectations for all students.


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