Publications headerFor a comprehensive list of all NCEE publications, including CIEB publications, click here.

Chinese Lessons: Shanghai’s Rise to the Top of the PISA League Tables

This compilation of interviews with top Chinese education leaders and international researchers explores some of the policies and practices behind Shanghai’s outstanding performance on PISA 2009 and PISA 2012.  The interviews include perspectives from the following:

ChineseLessonsCoverKai-ming Cheng, Chair Professor of Education at Hong Kong University where he previously served as Senior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor.  Cheng played a central role in the recent education reforms in Hong Kong and serves as an advisor to both the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Tom Corocoran, co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.  A decade ago, Corcoran was working closely with the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission; that experience provided the opportunity to learn a lot about education in Shanghai before the more recent reforms were implemented.

Ben Jensen, previously a highly regarded analyst in the OECD Education Directorate currently leading the education work of the Grattan Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Two years ago, he completed a comparative study of the education systems of a number of East Asian education systems and currently he is conducting a study of the Shanghai system for the continuous professional development of teachers.
Vivien Stewart, Senior Advisor to the Asia Society for Education, where she was, until recently, the Vice President for Education.  While at Asia Society, she was often in China, meeting with education officials at every level and visiting Chinese schools.

Minzuan Zhang, President of the Shanghai Normal University; Director of the Center for International Education Study and Consultation in the Chinese Ministry of Education and a scholar in the field of comparative education.  From 2004 through 2011, Zhang was the Vice-Director General of the Shanghai Municipal Education Committee, and, in that capacity, in charge of planning many of the education reforms for which Shanghai has since become famous.


Governing American Education

Governing American EducationMarc Tucker outlines the school governance structures used in the top-performing countries around the world – including Australia, Canada (Ontario), China (Hong Kong and Shanghai), Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Singapore – in an effort to draw out lessons for the United States. The report argues that school governance might be the most important topic in American education today and that we will not be able to meet the challenges that now face us until we rethink the way we approach education policy.


International Comparative Study of Leading Vocational Education Systems

In this series of reports, CIEB explores the leading vocational and technical education systems from around the world to draw out what makes these systems great and what other countries can learn from them.

The Phoenix: Vocational Education and Training in Singapore
Phoenix Cover1

Stability, a commitment to implementation,
a strong compulsory education system,
aligned and coherent planning, a strong
link to the national economic development
strategy and to business—these are a
few of the things that set the Singapore
Vocational Education and Training system
apart. Click to read CIEB’s in-depth look
at what makes Singapore’s VET system
exceptional, and what other countries can
learn from it.


International Education Benchmarking Research

These publications serve as a guide to what the United States can learn from the top-performing education systems in the world.

Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education
Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States
How have the countries at the top managed to achieve sustained high performance or to significantly improve their performance? This volume combines an analysis of PISA with a description of the policies and practices of those education systems that are close to the top or advancing rapidly, in order to offer insights for policy from their reform trajectories.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform
This paper is the answer to a question: What would the education policies and practices of the United States be if they were based on the policies and practices of the countries that now lead the world in student performance? It is adapted from the last two chapters of Surpassing Shanghai.



The Challenge from Asia (2006)
In addition to an extensive review of the relevant literature, this paper draws heavily on field research done in China in October 2005 and in India in March 2006 as part of an international comparative study conducted by the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Overview of Education On Flemish Belgium (2006)
Belgium devolved responsibility for schooling to its four regional governments over the past twenty years. In Flanders, devolution has continued with increasing numbers of the schools operated by non-governmental entities.

Recent Innovations in Belgian and Flemish Belgian Education (2006)
A list of the innovations which set this education system apart, from free preschool starting at age 2.5 to the option of apprenticeship in upper secondary.

Canadian Education Report (2005)
Canada has the highest stock of human capital in terms of educational attainment in the OECD. In 2001, the share of the adult population with tertiary education – not necessarily university-level – was 40 percent (followed by the United States at 35 percent).


China: A Study in Paradoxes, A Preliminary Report (2005)
This is a preliminary report of field research done in China in October 2005 as part of an international comparative study conducted by the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Denmark Education Report (2006)
As matters stand today, the Danes have one of the most successful economies on earth, thanks in large part to their highly educated and trained work force, people who are broadly knowledgeable and deeply skilled, people who can take leadership at every level of the economic system and respond quickly to changing circumstances as they arise.

Finland Education Report (2005)
Finland's education system is one of the best in the world and generates people with the right skills to succeed in a modern knowledge economy. One of the secrets of Finland's success is a high level of public investment in education and training.

The Case of England (2005)
No state in the United States has produced gains in student performance as fast or on as wide a scale as has England in the years since Maggie Thatcher first became Prime Minister. This is the story of the system that Thatcher put in place, John Major continued and Prime Minister Blair has refined and, in many ways, actually made to work.


Profile of the Czech Republic's Education System (2006)
With very high rates of literacy and strong performance in math and science on international comparisons of educational achievement, the Czechs are poised to become a increasingly competitive force within the EU. Yet, their education system is still in transition.

India Education Report (2005)
India, with more than a billion residents, has the second largest education system in the world (after China). In a country with such a large population, ten percent enrollment amounts to 9 million students, resulting in 2.5 million new college graduates a year. These numbers driven by the private sector opportunities abroad, and increasingly, back in India, will continue to ensure India’s prowess in delivering high-quality technical manpower.

Ireland Education Report (2005)
Ireland has one of the highest educational participation rates in the world. It is no wonder that so many international companies look to Ireland again and again when hiring graduates and making location decisions for entrée into the European market.

Italy Education Report (2005)
From 1996 through 2001, Italy enacted a series of new laws focused on the family and the role of government uncharacteristic for a country that has long avoided explicit family policy. An overview of how these changes affected the Italian Education System.

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