Report Roundup

Standards Studied in 10 Countries

"International Lessons About Standards"

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Having a national system of academic-content standards and tests doesn’t mean that local educators lose their say in how schools are run, according to a report by a Washington-based group that has long advocated such a system.

The report released last week by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute draws its conclusions from an in-depth study of 10 countries with national standards and testing systems. The countries are Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, and South Korea. Three researchers from Michigan State University, in East Lansing—William H. Schmidt, Richard Houang, and Sharif Shakrani—conducted the study.

While all but one of the countries studied set curriculum at the national level, the authors write, most of those nations have multiple systems within them. In Germany, for instance, individual schools select their own staff members, and in Brazil, France, India, the Netherlands, and Russia, curriculum-policy decisions involve participants from all levels of the system.

The authors say their study offers lessons for growing efforts in the United States to devise common standards and tests. They recommend creating an independent, quasi-governmental institution to oversee the crafting of national standards; starting with English, mathematics, and science, and making the standards coherent, focused, and rigorous; providing federal support for standards development; administering tests based on the standards every other year in grades 4, 8, and 12; and holding students, teachers, and schools accountable for the results of those tests.

Vol. 29, Issue 02, Page 4

Published in Print: September 2, 2009, as Standards Studied in 10 Countries
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories