Saturday, June 13, 2009

Top-performing systems (worldwide)

Here's a 2007 publication from McKinsey & Company with potent lessons for Kentucky.

The full World's Best Performing School Systems report is available here, reflecting analysis of school systems across the globe with top scores on the PISA assessment, adding in Singapore for top TIMSS results, and also looking at a set of systems with strong improvement results.

That research found a set of key things those systems did more often than lower performing schools, with these main headings:

Getting the right people to become teachers:
• Mechanisms for selecting teachers for teacher training
• Good starting compensation
• The importance of teacher status

Developing them into effective instructors:
• Building practical skills during the initial training
• Placing coaches in schools to support teachers
• Selecting and developing effective instructional leaders
• Enabling teachers to learn from each other

Ensuring that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child:
• Setting high expectations for what students should achieve.
• Monitoring and intervening at the schools level.
• Monitoring and intervening at the students level.

Some of the key ideas are familiar ones we're ready to apply more systematically. Others may be difficult to apply here or even not quite right for us. I plan to wrestle them over the next week, not quite in the original order, but connect all the elements to Kentucky's current efforts and future options.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!