International Benchmarking

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International benchmarking is important from a national perspective to ensure our long-term economic competitiveness.  

Benchmarking for Success Cover

The successes of other nations can provide potential guidance for decision-making in the United States, and many, appropriately, believe American students should be held to the same academic expectations as students in other countries. In education, international benchmarking typically refers to analyzing high-performing education systems and identifying ways to improve our own systems based on those findings. One of the main ways to identify high-performing education systems is through international assessments, particularly the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Consistent high-performers include countries like Singapore, Finland, Korea, Canada and Japan.

Achieve’s International Benchmarking Work

  • Achieve was contracted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to co-develop the mathematics framework for PISA 2012. Achieve is also conducting an alignment review of the potential item pool for the mathematics assessment.
  • With the National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, Achieve released the paper Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education, which provides a roadmap for benchmarking state K-12 systems against high-performing nations.
  • The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) commissioned Achieve to conduct an analysis of member states’ standards in mathematics and science. The full report can be downloaded from the APEC website.
  • As part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, Achieve helped collect and analyze standards from a number of countries. These studies helped inform the choices made by the writers of the common standards. See the Common Core State Standards Initiative website for examples of how international benchmarking was used to inform the development of the standards in mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy.
  • Achieve has written a series of content briefs to compare the expectations of several high-performing countries to those found in the Common Core State Standards.
  • With support from the Noyce Foundation, Achieve released a report on International Science Benchmarking.

Achieve is available to conduct analyses comparing state or other standards, as well as assessments, against those of high-performing countries, in mathematics, science and language arts. Please contact Achieve for more information.

Additional External Resource:

Achieve APEC Report