How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Come out on Top

Recently I reread the 2007 McKinsey report, How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Come out on Top. Between March 2006 and May 2007, a team of McKinsey researchers and consultants did an intense review and analysis of multi-country PISA results and education best-practices literature. In addition, they conducted 100+ interviews with experts, policymakers and practitioners around the world in order to benchmark 2 dozen school systems throughout the Middle East, North America, Asia and Europe. The goal of the research was, “to understand why the world’s top performing school systems perform so much better than most others and why some educational reforms succeed so spectacularly when most others fail” (p. 11).

The report points out that the best school systems:

  • Get the right people to become teachers
  • Develop them into effective instructors
  • Ensure the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for each child

In case you’re curious, school systems that they consider to fall into this category include at the top: Alberta, Australia, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Ontario, Singapore and South Korea.

Reading this made me wonder… What goes on behind the doors of classrooms in Alberta and Finland that is so spectacular? How do these teachers learn their trade? How do they continue learning and improving their art?

Luckily I recently discovered The Global Education Collaborative–an excellent social network that connects teachers and students interested in global education around the world. Think of the possibilities! How about connecting with a classroom in Jamaica to study the water cycle and literacy? Or, why not have your students do a joint wiki history project with students at an international school in Spain!

The world is our classroom! To learning, collaboration, technology literacy and more!

Anna

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1 Response to “How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Come out on Top”


  1. 1 siouxgeonz February 17, 2009 at 4:51 am

    In my experience if we only focus on what goes on while teaching, we’re missing a huge part of what makes a good teacher.

    I taught at an excellent school. One of the reasons it got excellent results was because I could do my job and continue to grow as a professional.

    An interesting sidelight… a friend of mine says that whenever she hears of a highly successful situation, she asks the question “how homogenous is the group?” *Most* (tho’ not all) of the time… there is a huge homogeneity factor. Teachers don’t have a classroom full of individuals with wildly diverse needs and natures. It always gives me pause…


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