The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development recently conducted a Programme for International Student Assessment survey of reading literacy among 15-year-olds. From the results, the OECD concluded that greater wealth doesn’t necessarily make for better education levels. Similarly prosperous countries can diverge widely in terms of education level, but, according to Secretary-General Angel Gurría, “Better educational outcomes are a strong predictor for future economic growth.”
We can’t do much about our current economic situation, but how can schools achieve better outcomes and ensure future economic prosperity?
PISA’s conclusions reinforce our own findings that learning environment is crucial for student achievement. (Click here to read Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States.)
On teacher-student relations: “Positive teacher-student relations can help to establish an environment that is conducive to learning. Research finds that students, particularly disadvantaged students, tend to learn more and have fewer disciplinary problems when they feel that their teachers take them seriously. One explanation is that positive teacher-student relations help foster social relationships, create communal learning environments and promote and strengthen adherence to norms conducive to learning.”
On school climate: “Classrooms and schools with more disciplinary problems are less conducive to learning, since teachers have to spend more time creating an orderly environment before instruction can begin. More interruptions within the classroom disrupt students’ engagement and their ability to follow the lessons.”
Korea and Finland topped the list in the study,which polled over 500,000 students in 70 economies. The United States didn’t make it into the top ten, though we did make some gains in reading.
Because CHARACTER COUNTS! does so much to improve school climate, we believe it is a crucial component in our continuing to improve educational outcomes. In addition to improving test scores and graduation rates, CC! has a proven track record of reducing suspensions and expulsions and increasing satisfaction of students, parents, and teachers. Improving all of these will help create an environment where students can learn.
Sign up for our new 3-day Character Development Seminar, which will provide participants with strategies to instill character values and create physically and emotionally safe environments.
Watch a short video about the survey, how it was done, and what it means, narrated by Andreas Schleicher, Head of Indicators and Analysis Division at OECD: