Center on International Education Benchmarking

Recent Releases

Vocational Education and Training for a Global Economy: Lessons from Four Countries

Edited by Marc Tucker, this book provides in-depth case studies of the vocational education and training (VET) systems of Switzerland, Singapore, China and the United States—showing in detail how these VET systems evolved over time and how the systems relate to the countries’ economies. The book outlines the principles that could underlie a well-designed, future-ready VET system, given the rapid and expansive change in the global economy. Previous versions of three case studies found in the book are available as stand-alone reports:

The Phoenix: Vocational Education and Training in Singapore

Made in China: Challenge and Innovation in China’s Vocational and Technical Education System

Gold Standard: The Swiss Vocational Education and Training System.

Vocational Education and Training for a Global Economy

The Early Advantage: Building Systems That Work for Young Children

In this two book series, world-renowned early childhood researcher Sharon Lynn Kagan and her team of international experts examine the innovative approaches to early childhood policy, practice, and service delivery in six leading systems: Australia, England, Finland, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. In the first book, Kagan and her team take readers on a deep dive into the innovative strategies and approaches to early childhood education and care in these six systems. The second volume extracts the essential elements from these high-performing systems to determine what must be considered when creating and implementing programs and policies for young children and their families. Challenging conventional thinking, the second volume offers scores of concrete examples, as well as multiple strategies, considerations, and approaches useful to leaders worldwide.

Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Education Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World

From Linda Darling-Hammond and a global team of education researchers, comes this groundbreaking international comparative study of teacher and teaching quality in the world’s top-performing education systems. This three-year study investigated seven jurisdictions across four continents to produce unparalleled insights for U.S. educators, researchers and policymakers. The centerpiece of the study, Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World from Jossey-Bass publishers, is a cross-cutting analysis of all seven systems. Also from Jossey-Bass are five e-books offering deep dives into each jurisdiction studied. NCEE also provides country briefs and policy briefs based on the study here on our website, along with a robust library of authentic tools and resources the research team brought back from the field. See the full set of materials here.

Empowered Educators

Preparing to Lead: Lessons in Principal Development from High-Performing Education Systems

Despite the large and growing body of research showing that school leadership is the second greatest in-school determinant of student success, most states have yet to construct comprehensive approaches to identifying and developing school leaders. Many of the world’s top-performing education systems have, by contrast, successfully developed and implemented systems to effectively identify, develop and train all school leaders. These are the findings of this vitally important report from NCEE and Australian researcher Ben Jensen. The report finds that many of the world’s best education systems are providing current and future school leaders with leadership development that is specifically tailored to their unique context, mirrors their day-to-day responsibilities and is focused on real-world problems facing those in the profession.

Preparing to Lead

Comparing International Vocational Education and Training Programs

From Ursula Renolds of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute in Zurich comes this comparative look at upper-secondary vocational education and training (VET) programs from 20 countries around the world. When it comes to managing challenges in vocational education and training—like rapid technological change, matching labor market demand for skills, attracting enrollment and creating high-status programs—what differentiates the strongest and weakest VET programs is the level of linkage between actors from the education and employment systems. This report defines and measures that linkage, then uses it to compare countries’ largest upper-secondary VET programs. Click to read the policy brief or the full report which includes country profiles for each of the 20 countries studied.

The KOF Education-Employment Linkage Index, cover

Not So Elementary: Primary School Teacher Quality in Top-Performing Systems

Written by leading Australian researcher Ben Jensen, Not So Elementary: Primary School Teacher Quality in Top-Performing Systems, examines how four high-performing education jurisdictions – Finland, Hong Kong, Japan and Shanghai – are able to ensure subject matter expertise among elementary school teachers through their selection process, requirements for specialization in their initial training programs, their processes for certification of teachers, and in-school development for teachers.


Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High Performing Systems

Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High Performing Systems, also written by Australian researcher Ben Jensen, is a comparative international study of world-class teacher professional learning in some of the best systems in the world: Shanghai, British Columbia, Singapore and Hong Kong.


Developing Shanghai’s Teachers

Developing Shanghai’s Teachers, a report from former Shanghai Normal University President and Shanghai Education Commission Deputy Director Minxuan Zhang, offers an insider’s perspective into how the world-leading Shanghai education system handles teacher professional development.


Comparative Study of Instructional Systems

Tina Isaacs of the Institute of Education at the University of London led an international comparative study of instructional systems that produced a detailed comprehensive description and analysis of the instructional systems in nine jurisdictions in six high-performing countries, as measured by the 2012 PISA data, as well as in two states in the United States.