How Shanghai does it : insights and lessons from the highest-ranking education system in the world
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This report, how Shanghai does it: insights and lessons from the highest-ranking education system in the world, presents an in-depth examination of how students in Shanghai achieved the highest scores in the areas of reading, science, and mathematics on a respected global assessment of 15-year-olds’ educational abilities. It documents and benchmarks key policies in Shanghai’s basic education, provides evidence on the extent to which these policies have been implemented in schools, and explores how these policies and their implementation have affected learning outcomes. The report uses the World Bank’s Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) as an organizing framework to organize and benchmark policies. School-based surveys and other existing research are employed to shed light on educational impact and implementation. Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 data are used to analyze the variations in Shanghai students’ achievement and to examine the extent to which school variables may be associated with variation after accounting for family and student background. Shanghai designs professional development activities to be collaborative and to focus on instructional improvement. School principals are responsible for creating targeted teacher training plans based on each teacher’s evaluation results. Professional development is often a substantial part of schools’ operational expenditure. The city pairs weak and inexperienced teachers with high performing and experienced ones. Important platforms for teacher professional development and performance evaluation, teaching-research groups and lesson observations, are also practiced universally in schools. Teachers are expected to be researchers who would evaluate and modify their own pedagogy in relation to student outcomes. The city requires new teachers to complete at least 360 hours of professional development in their first five years of service, and an additional 540 hours to be considered for a senior rank. Overall, Shanghai is characterized by a coherent and comprehensive system of teacher professional development that incorporates multiple layers of in-service training, school-based teacher research groups, evaluation of teacher performance, and a structured career ladder that provides both motivation and a mechanism for teachers to progress in their careers, which is key to Shanghai’s demonstrated excellence in education.