League tables – Why follow America???

I read an interesting article today on Australia’s push towards league tables for schools.

It seems a little odd to me that Australian politicians want to follow America’s lead in the push towards league tables and increased mandatory testing to try and improve educational outcomes for students. The fact that America is one of the poorest performing countries in a recent OECD study involving 26 countries should ring alarm bells. It would seem logical to me to try and analyse the countries performing better than Australia (we actually perform quite well overall) to look at what they do. Finland who have topped the OECD comparisons in most areas over the last 6 years have one of the least prescriptive curriculums, minimal testing and some of the best trained teachers in the world.

Leading countries have a strong focus on the quality of their teachers and the McKinsey report provides lots of information on what has been happening around the world to improve educational outcomes. The findings overall are quite simply put. Quality school systems have the following thins in common.
1. Getting the right people to become teachers
2. Developing them into effective instructors
3. Ensuring the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child

The report is broken into a number of sections whose headings really say it all.

“The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers”.

“The only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction”.

“High performance requires every child to succeed”.



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