What are the success factors in education?

What are the success factors in education in the world?

Is it based on highly qualified and trained teachers?  Is it due to well-developed education system?  Is it due to well supported learning environment?  Is it based on learning community?

First, how is student success measured in the world?

See this pisa and post on education ranking.

PISA Measuring student success in the world

Second, how do educators and administrators view their country’s education system?

In a related post what-Americans-keep-ignoring-about-Finlands-school-success, the author concludes that: “the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.”

Here is the education of Shanghai, China

How about other country like Singapore?

In Japan, integrated learning is emphasised.  It is important to develop independent thinking, creativity, and problem solving skills.  A focus on solving problems of the community is also the basis of integrated learning.

In this study on second-chances-in-education:

There is no doubt that greater proficiency at early ages is an advantage for further education and creates opportunities for additional studies that may not be as readily available to low-achievers. While taking the most common path – through secondary and then directly on to university-level education – appears to maximise improvements in reading proficiency, not everyone takes that route. The evidence in this unique study shows that learning does not end with compulsory education. Second-chance programmes and flexibility in education systems can help young people who have not had the advantages of supportive learning environments early in their lives to improve their reading proficiency later on.

This indicates the importance of continuous life long learning, and second chance program in education, which would help people to improve their reading proficiency.

What are the success factors common across those top performers?

1. An emphasis of education by the country.

2. Selection of teachers who are passionate in teaching and supportive of students’ learning.

3. Provision of professional development for teachers.

4. An emphasis of certain skill sets such as independent thinking, creativity and problem solving in the education and learning curriculum, centered around the needs and future development of the community and nation.

5. Supportive learning community – such as those in Singapore, with Professional Learning Community (PLC).

6. A focus on the use of new and emerging technology like mobiles and tools in enhancing learning.  This is widely used in the classroom teaching and learning in Singapore.

On our future education system

What would be an excellent education system be like in future?

Will online learning spell the end of universities?

Universities were once wary of giving away their courses online. At best, the videos took up server space and ate into a professor’s office hours; at worst, they diluted the Ivy League brand. Today, the calculus has changed. Enterprising academics are anxious to show off their research or take the stage in front of 10,000 students. Administrators, in turn, recognise that embracing the web doesn’t mar a university’s stature—instead, it shows visionary leadership, which translates into better fundraising. And honestly, when Harvard decides to play spades, what choice do you have but to follow suit?

This sounds both exciting but challenging, especially when the top universities are leading up the changes, whereas those others must have to follow suit, in order to catch up with the “power game” based on x MOOC.  Does it mean the demise of lots of universities who could not meet up those bench-marks and best practice?  Would there be winners for all?

How to sustain such MOOCs, with the present economic model?  In this Openness as counter narrative, Paul says:

Giroux (2003, p.183) continues stating that faculty “are now defined less through their scholarship than through their ability to secure funds and grants from foundations, corporations, and other external sources”.

Though it is possible to disagree with Giroux’s (2003, p.191) claim that higher education has sold out to the highest bidder in an attempt to “calibrate supply to demand”, but there is indisputable evidence of the increasing privatisation of higher education.

In this post relating to -Australia-should-not-follow-the-Asian-model-of-education-by Nicola

From my experience in Australia and East Asia, it is Australian students who have a far superior educational experience in which a wider range of subjects are taught and where the core business of learning goes beyond narrow test results.

To what extent is that the case?  I think we need more data to substantiate the claim.

I was further interested to learn:

The report maintains that “effective intervention begins with a deep analysis of learning”. Learning is the focus – yet all the examples of learning are solely related to the regurgitation of facts in a test. There are no references to being creative or showing the ability to work towards an agreed goal in a collaborative partnership.

I have been in situations where I have asked Asian students “what do you think?” And they reply “tell us what you think and we will think the same”. Is that really the mark of a gold star education system?

There are some “truths” reflected in this part of the post, in particular about rote learning that might have been emphasized in an education system which focuses on tests and examinations.  However, I don’t think tests and examinations are just testing the facts and knowledge.  In some cases it could be used to test the problem solving skills of students, within certain conditions, with particular subjects.  One could argue that problem solving could be taught.  So, would we still like to check if students have achieved certain mastery of problem solving through examinations?

It seems the main problems with the education system is too much focus on rote learning, and to some extent it relates to the testing of knowledge using the typical examinations ONLY.

If that is the case, would the x MOOCs with examinations as a way to determine content mastery also be falling into similar “trap”?  I have shared some of my views and those of others in this post.

As mentioned in other critiques about flipping classroom, the challenges we are facing in our education system is too much reliance on the mastery of content, and the traditional tests and examinations, as shared in my previous post, and insufficient attention to the critical thinking, problem solving and digital literacies, which should be addressed early in the high school, rather than in Higher Education.  I am not sure if there are overly bias on Khan Academy and flipping the classroom, as discussed in this post and this  post with video critique on KA, and that in flipping the solution.  However, it is important to see the pros and cons of each approaches – with flipping the classroom, and see what impact they have on our education system.

Viplav comments here:

At present, these initiatives are nothing more than extensions/combinations of the self paced elearning and instructor led virtual models, automated assessments in some cases, with the added spice of learners being able to collaborate online and being promoted by individual and institutional brands (acceptance) – hardly a disruption. In fact, the reason such flips will continue to attract students (even though a meagre percentage would actually certify), is because a brand pull exists or marketing dollars will be spent.

What might be possible solutions to our education system?  You are invited to share your solutions.


See this video.

A relevant paper on course evaluation.

The Future of Higher Education – the Pew Research Report