My most recent book, The World’s Highest-Scoring Students, focuses on how various countries transformed their school systems into the world’s leading systems of education. I cover eight countries: Finland, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, Canada, Estonia, and the United States. This book offers ideas on how the United States can improve its school system so that it can regain its status as the world’s undisputed leader in education.
In addition to offering a brief historical context for each country, I describe important practices that helped these nations achieve stellar results in international testing. Some of the subjects covered include teacher preparation programs, cultural attitudes toward education, and teacher recruitment practices. My book differs from other texts on this topic because it describes in detail the most recent practices that various educational systems have used to maintain top academic performance and the strategies others have implemented to climb to the top.
The World’s Highest-Scoring Students offers a new perspective on this topic in several ways. It provides a balanced view of the highest-ranking nations in education, offering the outstanding practices they use to achieve stellar results but also pointing out the problems they endure. In addition, I discuss various controversies about international tests, including the limitations of using these tests to evaluate students.
Introduction by Thomas V. O’Brien
Why It’s Crucial to Learn from World-Class Nations in Education
Education in Finland: The Closest We Can Get to a Utopian System
From a Third-World to a First-World Nation: Education in Singapore Made It Happen
Japan: Always on Top in Education
High Test Scores Come at a High Price: Education in South Korea
China’s Success in Education: Is This Nation Really That Good?
Learning from Canada: A Top-Performing Country Similar to the United States
Estonia: A New World Leader in International Testing
From Excellence to Mediocrity: The Decline of the Education System in the United States
A Plan for a Better Educational System
Prior to writing The World’s Highest-Scoring Students, I co-edited The World Leaders in Education: Lessons from the Successes and Drawbacks of Their Methods. I authored the introductory and concluding chapters of this book, and various authors wrote the other chapters. This book is similar to my most recent book. It explores the practices and policies that the highest-ranking nations in education implement to achieve their success. Topics include the education of disadvantaged students, cultural attitudes toward education, teacher preparation, and teacher salaries.
Eight countries are examined: China, Japan, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Finland, and the United States. The United States is discussed for several reasons, including its large number of strong performers on international tests and its notable history in education. The book looks at both the successes and the failings of these nations, and also mentions the possibilities and limitations of implementing the practices of world-class nations in education in areas where students tend to perform poorly on tests like the PISA.
This book may be used for courses on educational policy and international education. The World Leaders in Education differs from similar books published in previous years because a unique roster of contributors with expertise in their respective regions provide new insights into this most important subject. Many chapter authors are native to the country they cover, and others have extensive experience and expertise regarding their region. The authors’ perspectives on the practices enabling each selected country to achieve impressive results in education will undoubtedly influence educational leaders from around the world.
What World-Class Nations in Education Do That Makes Them So Good
Ethos of Equality: Finnish Educational Policy and Practice
Riitta Jyrhämä and Katriina Maaranen
Schooling in the United States: What We Learn from International Assessments
of Reading and Math Literacy
William G. Brozo and Sarah Crain
The High-Achieving Educational System of Japan
Lawrence Baines and Mano Yasuda
Education in Canada: Separate but Similar Systems in the Pursuit of Excellence and Equity
Jason D. Edgerton, Lance W. Roberts, and Veronika Eliasova
South Korea’s Education: A National Obsession
Michael J. Seth
Success in Singapore: A Model for Excellence in Education
Vivien Geneser and Hsiao-ping Wu
Education in New Zealand: Maintaining Quality in an Era of Change
Michael Forret and Logan Moss
Reconciling Fairness with Efficiency: Reforming the Chinese Examination System
Andreas Schleicher and Yan Wang
What We Can Learn from High-Ranking Nations in Education