Looking Beyond U.S. Borders

The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center asked state education agency officials whether their agency uses international education comparisons to inform reform efforts. Officials in 29 states indicated that their agency uses such comparisons. In 21 states and the District of Columbia, respondents said they are not currently using education data from other nations as a policy resource.

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Those states indicating that they used international comparisons often cited a need to align student preparation with the demands of a global economy and learn from “best practices” in high-achieving nations. In describing the specific ways in which they use data from other nations, states most frequently pointed to the role of international indicators in comparing student achievement and developing academic-content standards.

Of the 29 states using international comparisons for specified purposes:

18 are comparing student data
12 are developing academic content standards
9 are improving assessments and accountability systems
8 are identifying support structures for current and future teachers
5 are establishing performance standards for state assessments

Source: EPE Research Center, 2012