Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context

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Overview

Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context
December 11 • Washington, D.C.

 

In 2016, a wealth of new international testing data and analysis will be issued from two major assessments at the precollegiate level. The results for students in dozens of countries are sure to once again spark debate over U.S. standing on the global stage and the implications for schools.

Many analysts and policymakers have expressed alarm at what they see as lackluster student outcomes in the United States, especially when compared with places such as Finland, Singapore, Shanghai, or right across the border in Canada. Meanwhile, interest is growing in gleaning educational lessons from overseas to bring back to the United States, whether to improve teacher quality, educational equity, or career and technical education.

Join the Education Writers Association for a one-day seminar on Dec. 11 to help journalists make sense of the global data and discussions, and how they’re relevant to U.S. schools. What do the international assessments tell us, and what are their limitations? How much stock should U.S. educators and policymakers place in looking abroad for promising practices? And, what is the experience of U.S. schools, districts, and states that are engaged in efforts to put student achievement in a global context or incorporate educational practices from overseas.

We’ll bring together educators, analysts and fellow journalists — including some from other nations — to explore these and other issues about U.S. education on the global stage. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding, but also get practical ideas for how to build international data and context into your coverage on an ongoing basis.

Scholarships for registration, travel and lodging have closed. Scholarships were provided first come, first serve.

 

In 2016, a wealth of new international testing data and analysis will be issued from two major assessments at the precollegiate level. The results for students in dozens of countries are sure to once again spark debate over U.S. standing on the global stage and the implications for schools.

Many analysts and policymakers have expressed alarm at what they see as lackluster student outcomes in the United States, especially when compared with places such as Finland, Singapore, Shanghai, or right across the border in Canada. Meanwhile, interest is growing in gleaning educational lessons from overseas to bring back to the United States, whether to improve teacher quality, educational equity, or career and technical education.

Join the Education Writers Association for a one-day seminar on Dec. 11 to help journalists make sense of the global data and discussions, and how they’re relevant to U.S. schools. What do the international assessments tell us, and what are their limitations? How much stock should U.S. educators and policymakers place in looking abroad for promising practices? And, what is the experience of U.S. schools, districts, and states that are engaged in efforts to put student achievement in a global context or incorporate educational practices from overseas.

We’ll bring together educators, analysts and fellow journalists — including some from other nations — to explore these and other issues about U.S. education on the global stage. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding, but also get practical ideas for how to build international data and context into your coverage on an ongoing basis.

Scholarships for registration, travel and lodging have closed. Scholarships were provided first come, first serve.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

SAT Makes Bid to Better Serve Poor Kids

David Coleman speaks to reporters at an Education Writers Seminar in Los Angeles, February 27, 2016. (Credit: EWA)

The SAT has been called out of touch, instructionally irrelevant, and a contributor to the diversity gaps on college campuses because the test arguably benefits wealthier students who can afford heaps of test preparation.

But now the SAT is fighting back. The College Board, the test’s owner, is hoping that a major makeover of the assessment that’s set to debut this weekend will persuade critics that students, teachers and colleges still need an exam that has been a centerpiece of the admissions landscape for 90 years.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Global Lens on Teacher Quality

A classroom at the Turku University Teacher Training School in Littoinen, Finland. The country sets a high bar for entrance into the teaching profession. (Jari Sjölund/Flickr via Creative Commons)

High-achieving countries share some common practices when it comes to the recruitment, training and development of public-school teachers, according to experts at a recent Education Writers Association event.

A few years ago in Singapore, teachers in a high school English department posed a question: Would having students conduct live debates on an issue before they wrote persuasive essays about it result in more highly developed final papers?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Putting Global Student Tests, U.S. Rankings in Context

(Flickr/Global Panorama via Creative Commons)

Near the end of 2016, results will come out for two major international assessments — kicking off a new round of analysis and debate over the standing of U.S. students on the global stage.

“We are really covering the whole range when it comes to these international studies,” said Dana Kelly, an official with the National Center for Education Statistics, which oversees the administration of both exams to U.S. students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Global Cities’ Share Strategies to Enhance Educational Equity

Kindergarten students at Warden Avenue Public School in Toronto, Canada. As more immigrant families settle in the city, local campuses are working to address the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. (Photo credit: Toronto District School Board)

International comparisons in education usually focus on the national level—what countries can learn from one another. But a number of cities in North America and East Asia have teamed up to compare notes and share ideas, including on the tough issue of improving educational equity, a challenge faced by urban systems across the globe.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Making Sense of Global Comparisons in Education

Chinese girls in their classroom. Shanghai drew widespread attention for its high test scores on PISA in 2012. Later this year, new results will be released for PISA and another international exam, putting a spotlight once again on how the achievement of dozens of countries and education systems compare. (Flickr/Brian Yap)

Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. first got a snapshot of how its students compare with their peers in other countries based on a standardized test. The news was sobering.

“Look towards the bottom of this list, and see the U.S. coming in 11th out of 12 [industrialized] countries” in math, said Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution, pointing to a chart he presented last month at an Education Writers Association seminar in Washington, D.C. “Only Sweden scored below the U.S.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

England’s Charter-Style Schools on Rise

Students board the train home in Whitby, England. (Flickr/Matt Buck)

Without a doubt, the biggest change to the educational landscape in England over the next few years will be the growth of so-called academies and free schools, both modeled at least in part on U.S. charter schools. 

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would like every government-funded school in England to be a free school or academy by 2020. At present, they represent 60 percent of the country’s roughly 2,000 state-supported secondary schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Exam Gives Glimpse of How Schools Stack Up Globally

Students work on a robotics project at the School of Science/ Engineering Magnet in Dallas, Texas, one of about 450 U.S. campuses using the OECD Test for Schools. The optional exam allows schools worldwide to compare student proficiency in reading, mathematics, and science. (Photo courtesy of Science/Engineering Magnet)

The many complaints about the large quantity of standardized assessments American students take may make giving another test a hard sell. But some U.S. high schools have recently added a voluntary exam that puts their student achievement in reading, math and science into an international context.

Multimedia

A Global Lens on Teacher Quality
Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context

A Global Lens on Teacher Quality

Leading researchers share findings from a forthcoming book that examines teacher quality practices in high-achieving systems, including Finland, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Canada.

  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute, Stanford University
  • Pasi Sahlberg, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • A. Lin Goodwin, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Emily Hanford, American RadioWorks (moderator)
Multimedia

International Tests, Global Comparisons
Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context

International Tests, Global Comparisons

Welcome Address

  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association
  • Michael Feuer, The George Washington University

Why do global comparisons in education matter? What do international assessments reveal, and what are their limitations? Have some countries been over-hyped based on their test scores? How do reporters make sense of it all for their readers?

Multimedia

What’s Ahead From OECD?
Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context

What’s Ahead From OECD?

The OECD regularly produces new reports and analyses on education issues that can be useful to journalists. Find out about upcoming work, and get your questions answered by the OECD’s new deputy director for education.

  • Montserrat Gomendio, Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development
  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association (moderator)
Multimedia

Educational Equity: A City-Level View
Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context

Educational Equity: A City-Level View

Learn about efforts to better serve disadvantaged students in Toronto and other major urban systems in the Asia Society’s Global Cities Education Network. This fall, education leaders from participating U.S. cities – Denver, Houston, Lexington, Ky., and Seattle – traveled to Shanghai to visit schools and explore best practices with peers in this network. Other participants include Seoul, Singapore, Hiroshima, and Melbourne.

Multimedia

OECD Test for Schools
Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context

OECD Test for Schools

Hundreds of U.S. high schools nationwide are participating in an initiative that allows them to see how their students stack up globally, and to gain information to improve their practices. Why are they doing this? What are they learning?

  • Jon Schnur, America Achieves
  • Tiffany Huitt, School of Science & Engineering (Dallas)
  • Daniel Gohl, Broward County (Florida) Public Schools
  • Liana Heitin, Education Week (moderator)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

A View From Abroad: Exchange Students Highlight Differences in Schooling

A panel of exchange students spoke at EWA's recent conference on U.S. education in a global context. From left to right, they are Valentina Tobon of Virginia, Lili Hofmann of Germany, Chun-Te Wang of Taiwan, and Kamila Mundzik of Poland. Photo by Emily Richmond, EWA

Chung-Te Wang had never seen a calculator in school before traveling to the U.S. this year as an exchange student.

“We always calculate with our brain. No offense,” said the 16-year-old from Taiwan, spurring laughter in a room full of reporters at the Education Writers Association’s recent seminar on covering U.S. education in a global context.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Brazil Explores U.S.-Style Education Policies

A school serving one of the poorer neighborhoods in  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Flickr/Charlie Phillips)

Tying teacher pay to student test scores. Creating public schools of choice with private operators. Setting common standards for all students. Those issues probably are familiar to any American reporter who covers education. They are also becoming more and more common in Brazil, where many policymakers are deeply inspired by the American experience.

P-12 Topic

Global Context for Education

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Interest has mounted over the past several years in how U.S. students stack up academically against their peers abroad, as well as the potential lessons educators and policymakers here might glean from high-achieving nations.

In late 2016, a raft of fresh student performance data is expected out from a pair of major international assessments best known by the acronyms PISA and TIMSS. PISA tests 15-year-olds in reading, math, and science. TIMSS tests fourth and eighth graders in math and science.