Lessons From the World’s High-Performing Education Systems

A Conversation With Andreas Schleicher of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In this NGA webinar conversation, Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary General at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) discusses global policy and research relating to K-12 education, including international models for addressing academic supports, student mental health and well-being and educator recruitment and retention.

Schleicher began by emphasizing the importance of measuring international educational progress and providing an overview of the different assessments and surveys that OECD uses to compare educational advancement across countries.

First, Schleicher discussed the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which measures student reading, math, science, and general life skills across more than 80 countries and by social background, gender, and geography. Schleicher stated that examining these measures helps the world understand trends in education across the globe, where there are opportunities for improvement and where transformation is occurring. The last PISA results were released in 2018 and the next results are expected to be released in December 2023.

Second, Schleicher provided a snapshot of the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) that examines educator professionalism, support, and learning environments across countries.  The last TALIS results were released in 2018 and the next results are expected to be released in 2025. Schleicher emphasized that countries that are seeing the most success and progress invest in strengthening the attractiveness of the educator profession, including not only competitive compensation but also opportunities for professional collaboration, growth, and leadership pathways. Schleicher particularly pointed to many high-performing Asian education systems that look at both educator impact on student performance and ask, “what contribution did you make to the profession?  How have you shaped the lives and careers of other teachers?  How have you mentored them?”

Schleicher also discussed two other OECD reports released over the past year: Education at a Glance and Building The Future of Education.  The Education At A Glance report compares how different countries invest in education and the impact that doing so has for economic and social outcomes.  It is published annually with the most recent update released in September 2023.  Schleicher highlighted that the report showed the importance of investing in college access and affordability, educator compensation, and high-quality early childhood education for improving economic and societal outcomes.

The Building The Future of Education report looked at where education is headed in the next few years, particularly as countries continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Schleicher emphasized that student and staff well-being and mental health are inextricably linked with academic outcomes.  He pointed out that schools are a social hub, and that the relationship teachers have with students is extremely impactful on academic success.  Schleicher wrapped up his thoughts by underlining the importance of enhancing student and educator digital skills and leveraging technology in education to transform student learning and that he’s particularly excited to see the role technology and AI can play in the future of education.

New PISA results will be released for the first time since 2018 on December 5, 2023, and will focus on comparing student performance in math internationally.  Please check back to the NGA K-12 website for updated information related to these results.

Update: View the PISA 2022 report.