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Effective teacher policies. Insights from PISA

Teachers are the most important resource in today’s schools. Improving the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of schooling depends, in large measure, on ensuring that competent people want to work as teachers, that their teaching is of high quality and that high-quality teaching benefits all students.

Teacher policies are the regulations and principles that shape the development of teachers and what they do. This report explores three teacher-policy questions: How do the best-performing countries select, develop, evaluate and compensate teachers? How does teacher sorting across schools affect the equity of education systems? And how can countries attract and retain talented men and women to teaching?

The findings show that, contrary to what is often assumed, high-performing systems do not enjoy a natural privilege simply due to a traditional respect for teachers; they have also built a high-quality teaching force as a result of deliberate policy choices, carefully implemented over time. The findings also show that there are multiple models from which other countries can derive inspiration. The fact that high performers are found on three continents and within different traditions of public governance and employment implies that incremental reforms, progressively implemented over time and within the constraints set by larger school policies and social contexts, can go a long way towards improving a system’s capacity to select, develop and retain more effective teachers, and ensure that the most talented teachers operate in the most challenging schools and classrooms.

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