Center on International Education Benchmarking

Who We Are

The Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB) conducts research on the world’s most successful education systems. It offers access to information, analysis, and opinion on the education systems of the top-performing countries through its web portal. In addition, the Center issues a monthly newsletter for people interested in keeping up-to-date on the strategies used by the top-performing countries.

The CIEB is a program of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), which has researched the education systems of the top-performing nations for more than twenty years to unfold the secrets of their success. Over the years, NCEE has benchmarked the education systems of Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asked the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to produce a report for the United States on the strategies used by the top-performing countries, the OECD asked NCEE to produce the report under their supervision. The report, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers: Lessons from PISA for the United States, was released in December 2010. In May 2011, NCEE released Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for American Education reform, a paper calling for a new U.S. education reform agenda based on the strategies of the top-performing nations.

Most recently, NCEE released Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems, a book examining the education systems that are leading the world in student performance to find out what strategies are working and how they might apply to the United States.

Vision: Our vision is of a world in which nations and the states or provinces within them are working ever more effectively to develop education systems capable of educating virtually all of their young people to a standard formerly thought necessary or possible only for a small elite. In this vision, each nation is pursuing that goal in a way that is uniquely attuned to its own culture, values, political history and institutional structures, but all nations are constantly learning from and adapting to their own circumstances the lessons learned by other nations that are pursuing the same goal.

Mission: The mission of the Center is to help countries around the world understand the principles, policies, and practices that top-performing countries use to drive their education systems. We strive to do this through a multi-year research program involving scholars from many countries in research on those countries whose students regularly top the PISA league tables. Research performed by the Center aims to describe their policies and practices, identify the strategies those countries have used to produce their superior performance, and analyze the common principles that underlie those strategies. The Center works to provide recommendations to policymakers and educators based on its research and analysis.

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