Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education

A video series profiling policies and practices of education systems that demonstrate high or improving performance in the PISA tests

In today’s global economy, countries need high-quality education systems that will teach their citizens the skills necessary to meet the challenges of tomorrow. This series of videos, produced jointly by the OECD and the Pearson Foundation, highlights initiatives being taken by education authorities around the world to help school students do better.

The school systems featured were chosen for their strong performance in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Every three years, PISA evaluates the skills of 15-year-old secondary students in three basic areas: reading, mathematics and science. Pencil-and-paper tests assess how well they analyze problems, seek solutions and communicate ideas. Around half a million students participated in the latest round, carried out in 2009 in some 70 countries and economies.

Starting from very different levels, a number of countries and regions have succeeded over the last few years in raising their students’ performance substantially. They display some important common features. Their politicians and social leaders share with parents, teachers and students a strong belief in the value of education. Resources are channeled to the areas where they will provide the greatest results. All students are given opportunities to achieve success.

The best systems deliver strong and equitable learning outcomes across widely varying cultural and economic contexts. By showing what they achieve, the PISA tests provide a mirror to all countries and demonstrate what is possible. Others can learn from those that do well. The purpose of these videos is to transmit ideas and stimulate debate.