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Lessons from PISA for the United States

image of Lessons from PISA for the United States

US President Obama has launched one of the world’s most ambitious education reform agendas. Under the heading “Race to the Top”, this agenda encourages US states to adopt internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace: recruit, develop, reward, and retain effective teachers and principals; build data systems that measure student success; and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices and turn around their lowest-performing schools.

But what does the “top” look like internationally? How have the countries at the top managed to achieve sustained high performance or to significantly improve their performance? The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides the world’s most extensive and rigorous set of international surveys assessing the knowledge and skills of secondary school students. This volume combines an analysis of PISA with a description of the policies and practices of those education systems that are close to the top or advancing rapidly, in order to offer insights for policy from their reform trajectories.

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Viewing Education in the United States Through the Prism of PISA

This chapter examines the United States’ performance in PISA compared with high-performing and rapidly improving education systems and other international benchmarks. This serves as the backdrop for the examination of other education systems in Chapters 3 through 9, which look at the trajectories of education policies and practices in the benchmark systems. The concluding chapter of this report then draws some possible lessons for the United States from both the comparative data and the education policies of the countries portrayed in this report.

English

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