Center on International Education Benchmarking

The Study Guide

1. How the World’s Top Performers Identify and Prepare School Leaders

Top-performing education systems have built entire systems to effectively identify, develop and train school leaders to drive state, provincial and national reform agendas, according to CIEB’s new report, Preparing to Lead: Lessons in Principal Development from High-Performing Education Systems. Authored by Australian researcher Ben Jensen for CIEB, Preparing to Lead gives readers a close-up look at the leadership development systems in Ontario, Canada, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. The report finds that these systems are providing current and future school leaders with leadership development experiences that are specifically tailored to their unique context, mirrors their day-to-day responsibilities and is focused on real-world problems. Read the full report here and learn about the National Institute of School Leadership, the the largest leadership development provider in the United States.

Preparing to Lead

2. Finland Announces Cross-Sector Strategy to Promote Youth Employment and Wellness

A range of Finnish ministries, businesses, youth-serving programs, and schools will come together to improve young people’s employability, mental health and capacity to participate in society, the Finnish Government announced this week. The newly established National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme formalizes collaboration between the Ministries of Justice, Social Affairs and Health, Interior, Employment, Environment, Defense and Education to coordinate programs and initiatives targeted at the well-being of youth age 12 to 29. In addition to initiatives focused on mental health services, antibullying, and civic engagement, the program also establishes Youth Work Centers of Expertise in each municipality. These Centers will receive government funding to coordinate services from existing nonprofits to provide job counseling to young people and connect them to apprenticeship experiences. Read more from the Finland Ministry of Education and Culture.

Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Finnish Minister of Education and Culture

3. Bachelor’s Degree-Level Teacher Apprenticeship Program Approved in UK

Beginning in fall of 2018, aspiring teachers in the UK will have the option of training through an apprenticeship program. The program will be structured as a Level 6 degree apprenticeship, meaning that participants who meet entry requirements pursue a bachelor’s degree through a combination of university- or college-based and work-based learning. Sir Andrew Carter, who chaired an independent review of initial teacher training courses in England published in 2015, describes the program structure as covering four school terms with assessment checkpoints. Participants will be assessed for Qualified Teacher Status in the third term of the program, and a final assessment, such as an interview or classroom observation, will take place during the first term of the Newly Qualified Teacher induction year. Carter acknowledges that some have expressed concerns about the potential challenges of multiple teacher training models available in the United Kingdom. Read more from Schools Week.

4. Alberta’s New No-Calculator Math Test for 6th Graders Shows Weakness in Basic Math

Almost one-quarter of 6th graders in Alberta failed a new non-calculator portion of the provincial math test, according to results just released. The non-calculator portion was added to the provincial mathematics exam last year in response to concerns about children’s understanding of math fundamentals. Education Minister David Eggan said the results confirmed that there is “…big room for improvement for basic skills.” The province has already taken some steps to address these concerns. Last year, the province modified the elementary math curriculum to require students to learn multiplication tables and step-by-step methods for addition and set up a CAN$2000 (US$1600) stipend for teachers to take post-secondary courses to bolster their mathematics skills. For more, see The Edmonton Journal.

5. Hong Kong Teachers’ Union Reacts to Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s Policy Address

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, the largest teachers’ union in Hong Kong, gave a mixed reaction to Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s recent policy address. The October 11th policy address was the Chief Executive’s first, and it detailed government plans across multiple policy areas, including education. The union was concerned with some aspects of the Chief Executive’s plans, including spending plans that would prioritize higher education at the expense of primary and secondary education and the lack of support for two specific issues — raising the pay for kindergarten teachers and the eliminating the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) in third grade. The union had praise, however, for some initiatives in the address, including subsidies for higher education and funding for air conditioning in primary and secondary schools. Read more in The Standard. For more on the policy address, read the full transcript in the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam

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