Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. Netherlands: More Adults Switching Careers to Become Teachers

The number of primary school teacher candidates in the Netherlands pursuing teaching as a second career has more than doubled this year compared to 2018, according to LOBO, the national organization for primary school teacher education. Over the past year, the number of primary school teacher candidates who have previously trained and worked in a different field more than doubled. While LOBO chairperson Barbara de Kort applauded this “interest in the profession,” she pointed to the Netherlands’ shortage of primary school teachers – particularly in the Randstad region, which includes the country’s four largest cities – as an area of concern. Vacancies in primary teacher positions fell from 3.4 percent in 2018 to about 1.4 percent this year. Read more from NL Times and Dutch News

LOBO chairperson Barbara de Kort
LOBO chairperson Barbara de Kort

2. New Zealand to Provide Reading and Literacy Support to Lower-Skill Workers

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The New Zealand government has announced NZD$14 million (US$8.9 million) in funding to provide lower-skilled workers supports to help improve their literacy and numeracy skills. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins, noting the increasing impact of automation and artificial intelligence on jobs, explained that the funding boost aims to help New Zealanders remain competitive and progress in their careers. The fund is open to employers who have staff with lower-skilled and provides money for specialists to come in and teach employees. Read more in the New Zealand Herald

3. Estonia: Vocational Higher Ed. Graduates to Receive Bachelor Degrees

Starting in September, a new law in Estonia will grant graduates of Universities of Applied Sciences, known also as professional colleges or vocational colleges, bachelor degrees rather than diplomas of higher education. Until now, only students graduating from academic universities were awarded bachelor degrees. This system has led to problems for Estonian graduates, as it is not consistent with the way higher education degrees are awarded in other European countries. The new law, known as the Higher Education Act, will bring Estonian tertiary education more in line with that of Germany or Switzerland, according to a spokesperson from one of the institutions affected by the changes, the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences (EUAS). Kristjan Oad, general manager at EUAS, said, “The law caught up with life. There is no difference between bachelor’s studies and professional higher education studies other than professional higher education courses are more practical, more tied to the labor market.” Read more at ERR and the Baltic Times

College Graduates

4. U.S.: New Report Maps State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales


The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has published a new report using results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to compare student proficiency standards by state. Since standards vary across states, the results of the various state assessments cannot be used to directly compare students’ progress. However, by placing a state standard onto the NAEP scale, a common metric for all states, a NAEP equivalent score is produced, which can be compared across states. NCES publishes such a report periodically, and this most recent study is the seventh in the series. It analyzes the standards set for public school students for the 2016-17 school year in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8. The report also analyzes the proficiency standards of the three major testing programs: ACT Aspire (ACT), The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Overall, state standards for proficiency have mapped at a higher NAEP achievement level over time in both grades and subjects except for grade 8 mathematics in which state standards for proficiency have changed little over time. In addition, variations among state achievement standards are narrowing. In grade 4 reading, 45 state standards mapped at the NAEP Basic level while two state standards mapped at NAEP Proficient and three state standards mapped at Below NAEP Basic. Read more at NCES.

5. Alberta Ed. Minister Cancels Partnership with Teacher Association to Review Curriculum

The Alberta Ministry of Education announced that it was cancelling a partnership agreement with the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) to participate in curriculum redesign. The partnership was put in place by the previous government to organize teacher involvement in the curriculum review process. That process — including a plan to pilot a new elementary curriculum this school year — was put on hold and the Ministry announced its own review process. ATA President Jason Schilling said the ATA partnership with the Ministry “…played an important role in mobilizing teachers practical experience and support for the redesign of Alberta’s decades old curriculum.” Education Minister Adriana LaGrange called the partnership “too restrictive” and said it is important to “…open the process so that more stakeholders are involved.” For more, see GlobalNews.

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange
Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange

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