building a world class learning system

Geoff Masters explores the results of a study seeking to understand how five jurisdictions, who have all performed unusually well in international achievement surveys, are approaching school education and its transformation.



Nations around the world recognise the
urgency of transforming school education.
This urgency stems from a mismatch
between aspects of schooling and the
broader societal, economic and work
contexts in which schools now operate.

Many countries have evolved over
the past half century from economies
based on agriculture or other primary
industries, to industrial economies,
to post-industrial economies. In most
countries, rapid change continues. As
economies have modernised, digitised,
and become more knowledge-based and
service-based, the competencies required
of workforces have also changed. Earlier
requirements for basic knowledge and
skills, and the reliable implementation of
routines, have increasingly been replaced
by requirements for deep knowledge,
thinking, problem solving, the ability to
innovate, high-level technological skills,
and social and emotional intelligence. In
today’s workplaces, challenges are often
multifaceted and ambiguous.

Changes in the nature and requirements
of work, the growing impact of automation
on routine and low-skill tasks, and more
frequent transitions between jobs, have
introduced a need for the regular updating
of knowledge and skills. To meet this
need, many countries are developing more
flexible learning arrangements, including
partnerships with non-traditional.

Overview & Preview

6 Chapters

16 Pages

Geoff Masters explores the results of a joint study by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The study sought to understand how five jurisdictions – British Columbia, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong and South Korea, which have all performed unusually well in international achievement surveys over the past two decades – are approaching school education and its transformation. He describes key aspects of the learning systems these jurisdictions have established, comments on how they are now redesigning their learning systems for the future, and discusses insights into what may be required for any jurisdiction to perform well on measures of the kind currently used in international surveys.

About the author.

Geoff Masters

Geoff Masters is CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Research, a global organisation with offices in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. His work with governments and school systems has included the development of strategies for improving literacy and numeracy learning; a review of upper secondary assessment and university entrance procedures; a major review of the New South Wales school curriculum; the development of a School Improvement Tool; and the development of a Principal Performance Improvement Tool. For three decades he has written extensively on the reform of educational assessment processes, including in Reforming Educational Assessment: Imperatives, Principles and Challenges and as author and co-author of a range of assessment materials and professional resources, including the TORCH Tests of Reading Comprehension, the Developmental Assessment Resource for Teachers (DART) and the Assessment Resource Kit (ARK). His contributions to education have been recognised through the award of the Australian College of Educators’ Medal and his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Sample Pages

School education often functions as a sorting mechanism more appropriate to workforces of the past, and so leaves many students without the knowledge and competencies their futures will require.

Geoff Masters

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