All in all when it comes to PISA we may not be the top in the world nor the top in Canada. However we have maintained our position in the rankings. Conversations about PISA need to truly focus on actions rather than rankings. Thanks to Andy Hargreaves for pointing us to a blog (the meaning of PISA) that in the last two paragraphs explains what the top ranking nations have done to improve achievement. The writing indicates that we do not need to blow up the system, nor turn the clock back and do things as we have done in the past. When you look at the following list you will see that we are indeed working on many aspects of this list, perhaps doing a better job of some. We are on the right track. As a province and as divisions we need to continue to reflect on and truly focus on these key actions (identified in the meaning of PISA blog entry).
1. Invest more in harder to educate students.
2. Support young children and their families before they arrive in school.
3. Recruit teachers from most talented high school graduates. Insist that new teachers master the content area for which they will teach and spend at least a year practicing the craft of teaching. Provide mentoring for beginning teachers from master teachers.
4. Provide strong support for continued development of existing teachers.
5. Career ladders for teachers with good pay.
6. Curriculum consisting of high achievement outcomes and high quality assessments for all students that incorporate the kinds of skills needed to succeed in the most advanced economies.
7. Strengthen technical and vocational systems to provide great opportunities for students to enter the adult world with confidence, skill, experiences and connections that lets them be productive and fulfilled.
8. Provide ministries and divisions with the resources they need to accomplish these tasks.