More and more countries are measuring the performance of teachers and schools as a key plank in education reform, a new report from the Organization for Economic Co-Development has concluded.

The Synergies for Better Learning: An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment report has revealed the ‘striking differences’ across OECD countries in both whether and how they go about testing performance.

In primary education, for example, students are not awarded marks in Denmark, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden whereas Hungary, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland and the Slovak Republic rely primarily on numerical marks for formal reporting. 

In Australia, Chile, Korea, Portugal and the United Kingdom, teachers undergo formal appraisal processes as part of their performance management while in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, feedback on teacher performance is provided more informally in schools.

The report’s main conclusions are:

  • Take a comprehensive approach: All the components of assessment and evaluation – student assessment, teacher appraisal, school evaluation, school leader appraisal and education system evaluation - should form a coherent whole. This will generate synergies, avoid duplication and prevent inconsistency of objectives.
  • Align evaluation and assessment with educational goals: Evaluation and assessment should align with the principles embedded in educational goals.
  • Focus on improving classroom practices: To optimise the potential of evaluation and assessment to improve what is at the heart of education – student learning – policy makers should promote the regular use of evaluation and assessment results for improvements in the classroom.
  • Build concensus: Ensure that all the stakeholders are involved early and understand the benefits. 
  • Place students at the centre: Students should be fully engaged with their learning and empowered to assess their own progress. The development of critical thinking and social competencies should also be monitored.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said that the report recognises a number of key policies being pursued by the Federal Government as best practice.

“This is the final report from the OECD’s review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes and it recognises many Australian initiatives,” Mr Garrett said.

“In particular, the report highlights the establishment of teaching standards, and teacher appraisal, as a major development to help ensure every school has suitably qualified teachers.

For a copy of the report go to