Expanded OECD and Pearson Foundation video series reveals new strengths of top performing educational systems

Expanded “Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education” series documents new educational success in Brazil and Germany. Japan, Portugal, and Singapore coming soon

June 29, 2011 – Tokyo, Japan– The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Pearson Foundation today announced details of a second collection of investigative films documenting successful education initiatives currently improving student learning in classrooms around the world. The films are the latest installments in the OECD’s “Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education” film series, which presents the policies and practices that are helping education systems teach students the skills they will need to succeed in an increasingly global, interconnected economy.

Andreas Schleicher, Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division at the OECD’s Directorate for Education, provided details of this latest effort at the 14th OECD Japan Seminar “Strong Performers, Successful Reformers in Education,” cohosted by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the OECD in Tokyo. In addition to a forthcoming profile of educational innovation in Japan, the new series will include studies of similar efforts that are improving student achievement currently underway in Singapore and Portugal. The first two films of this set, which focus on achievements in Brazil and Germany, were shared with attendees of this week’s Tokyo conference.

The school systems featured in the “Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education” film series were chosen either for their high performance in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) or because they have been able to improve rapidly. Every three years, PISA evaluates the skills of 15-year-old secondary students in three basic areas: reading, mathematics and science. Starting from very different levels, the countries and regions profiled have succeeded in raising their students’ performance substantially.

“Like their predecessors, these videos provide a fascinating look behind the PISA data,” said Schleicher. “With each profile you can see clearly the ways in which the policies and practices that underpin strong performance and successful educational reform improve student success. When you compare the approaches, you also get a remarkable sense of the common opportunities and the unique differences among those countries who have genuinely improved student performance in recent years.”

The two profiles released today join previous portraits of the policies and programs that local education leaders credit with improving student achievement in Finland, Poland, Ontario Canada, and Shanghai, China—films first made available in conjunction with the December 7, 2010 release of the most recent international PISA results. In Brazil, education leaders are establishing nationwide quality goals and allowing schools to choose how to best achieve them in a way that is helping that country to overcome wide-ranging economic and social inequities in education. In Germany, reforms together with a nationwide effort to raise performance have raised that country’s performance from 21st place in the 2000 PISA rankings to 15th in 2010.

“Together, these real-time studies of many of the world’s most successful education systems display important common features,” said Mark Nieker, President of the Pearson Foundation. “In every case, these countries’ governmental and social leaders share with parents, teachers, and students a strong belief in the value of education. They have also effectively channeled resources to the areas that yield the most results. Perhaps most importantly, all students are given opportunities to achieve success.  Each film represents significant progress towards a future where students everywhere are better prepared to succeed.”

The films can be viewed online at www.pearsonfoundation.org/OECD and copies may be obtained directly from the OECD.

About the OECD

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) works with governments on education policy and in many other areas in order to help them to develop policies that will improve the lives of citizens around the world. As an intergovernmental organization, the OECD provides a forum in which countries can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. Its 34 member countries span the globe, from North and South America to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The OECD also works closely with emerging giants like China, India, and Brazil and developing economies in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to build a cleaner, fairer world. More information about the OECD can be found at www.oecd.org.

About PISA

PISA tests the educational attainment levels of 15-year-old secondary school students every three years in three core areas: reading, mathematics, and science. Launched in 2000, PISA now covers some 70 countries and economies that together account for around 86% of world economic output. Test results provide education authorities with an international yardstick to measure how their school systems are performing and to identify where progress can be achieved. More information on PISA can be found at www.oecd.org/pisa.

About the Pearson Foundation

The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson’s (NYSE:PSO) commitment to education by partnering with leading nonprofit, civic, and business organizations to provide financial, organizational, and publishing assistance across the globe. The Foundation aims to make a difference by sponsoring innovative educational programs and extending its educational expertise to help in classrooms and in local communities. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at www.pearsonfoundation.org.


kate.miller@pearson.com – 800-745-8489