School and system improvement

Publication Date



School systems, School improvement, Curriculum development, Student assessment, Futures (Of society), Standards


This paper draws on the findings of a joint study conducted by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The study was co-directed by NCEE’s Director of Policy Analysis and Development, Jackie Kraemer, and ACER’s CEO, Geoff Masters. The study also benefited greatly from case studies authored by researchers in the participating jurisdictions: British Columbia, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong and South Korea. The contributions of all who participated in the study are gratefully acknowledged. Findings from the NCEE-ACER learning system study will be published in Building a World-Class Learning System (forthcoming).


This study sought to understand how five jurisdictions – British Columbia, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong and South Korea, which have all performed unusually well in international achievement surveys over the past two decades – are approaching school education and its transformation. Geoff Masters describes key aspects of the learning systems these jurisdictions have established, comments on how they are now redesigning their learning systems for the future, and discusses insights into what may be required for any jurisdiction to perform well on measures of the kind currently used in international surveys.

Place of Publication

East Melbourne, Vic.


Centre for Strategic Education (CSE)





Geographic Subject

Canada, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Korea, South