Monitoring, intervening and accountability strategies in top-performing school systems: A case study of Finland and Singapore

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dc.contributor.advisor Lai, M en Zayed, Salman en 2013-10-03T02:51:30Z en 2013 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Globalisation has had a major impact on educational systems around the world. It has created globally expansive links between national systems through cross-national educational comparisons such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS). The suggestion that top-performing school systems share certain success strategies that contribute to their high performance has become a driving force in the area of school improvement. In 2007, global advisors McKinsey & Company published a report of 25 school systems, including those judged to be the top 10 performers worldwide (Barber & Mourshed, 2007). The report identified three key common characteristics: (i) recruiting quality teachers, (ii) improving teacher quality through professional development, and (iii) ensuring that every student receives the benefits of quality instruction. Nonetheless, there are context specific applications of each of the three characteristics, that is to say, what one nation implements to ensure every student receives the benefits of quality instruction, for example, can look very different from another nation. Yet, far less research has been devoted to examining the context specific applications of high performing nations, and the reasons for the different applications. This thesis is a case study comparison of two contrasting yet high performing school systems, in Finland and Singapore, which uses literature reviews and document analysis as its methodology. It examines how each nation has implemented strategies for ensuring that every student receives the benefits of quality instruction and the reasons behind these implementation strategies. After a brief introduction, the selection criteria of the two case studies are explained followed by analysis of the demographics in both countries. Then the seven strategies each nation uses to ensure that every student receives the benefits of quality instruction are described: setting high expectations; examinations; school review; publication of performance reports; funding; interventions to replace or improve leadership; and finally monitoring and intervening at the student level. The results showed common strategies used by the two nations such as setting high expectations for what students should achieve through the curriculum, but also highly differing ones. In Singapore, there is greater high external accountability, publication of performance reports and high stakes examinations; alternatively, in Finland there is trustbased and flexible accountability, no league tables and no national examinations. The reasons for the differences appear to lie in their different socio-political histories. In Singapore, the civil unrest between ethnic groups led to a focus on public and transparent meritocracy (hence the need for external and high stakes national accountability processes); in contrast, the relatively stable Finland, with its long established culture of high trust in the teaching profession, was able to implement internal accountability processes. The results therefore suggest that as common successful educational strategies take on global character, the factors that determine the nature of these common educational strategies are essentially national in character. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title Monitoring, intervening and accountability strategies in top-performing school systems: A case study of Finland and Singapore en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
pubs.elements-id 407092 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2013-10-03 en

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