Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Global study names BPS one of the 'most improved school systems in the world'

A new study from the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company has named BPS one of the 20 "most improved school systems" in the world -- and just two of these school systems were in the United States (the other was Long Beach Union School District in California).

How did they pick Boston? According to the authors, the study searched for school districts that had sustained, major improvements since 1980. The 1994 Education Reform legislation and the launch of the MCAS in 1998 helped identify Massachusetts as an innovator in public education, and Boston in particular was positioned for meaningful success. The study cites the creation of the MyBPS student data system as a particularly powerful tool that has helped link teachers with critical information that can help them target lessons around individual students. (Our new, next-generation student information system is in development right now and will launch next year).

The study applauds BPS for taking bold steps to lift the number of students passing state math exams from 23 percent in 1998 to 84 percent in 2008. In reading, the passing rate jumped from 43 percent in 1998 to 91 percent in 2008.

The challenge for us now, the report says, is that BPS risks reaching a plateau. To break through it, McKinsey suggests we look to Singapore, which has "moved from rigid prescription to greater flexibility as it embarked on its good to great improvement journey."

The full report provides an unusually crisp, long-term look at education reform across the entire planet. You can read it here.

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