Sharing Ideas for Tomorrow’s Students and Teachers

At the 3rd U.S.-China State/Provincial Education Leaders’ Dialogue, education leaders from eight American states and seventeen Chinese provinces shared ideas and discussed efforts to improve teacher professional development and to implement effective student assessments.

U.S. leaders visited schools in Shanghai before the dialogue began and the American delegation was particularly impressed by the students and faculty at Shanghai Shibei Junior High School. The delegates observed English, math, and science classes, interacted with highly engaged students, and participated in discussions about the lessons with teachers in their teacher research groups. China’s teacher research groups, similar to professional learning communities that are beginning to be more common in U.S. schools, have been used for many years and the deep practice was reflected in the quality of the discussion at Shibei Junior High School.

U.S. leaders visited schools in Shanghai before the dialogue began and the American delegation was particularly impressed by the students and faculty at Shanghai Shibei Junior High School.

U.S. leaders visited schools in Shanghai before the dialogue began and the American delegation was particularly impressed by the students and faculty at Shanghai Shibei Junior High School.

Chinese provincial education leaders also identified the shortage of quality teachers in rural areas as an issue they are working hard to turn around, in part through economic incentives, and recognized the need to address the emotional needs of these sometimes isolated educators as well. The U.S. education chiefs talked about similar challenges in attracting and retaining high quality teachers to remote or inaccessible areas, using technology to train teachers, growing teachers from within the community, and developing strong principals and teacher leaders.

Education leaders from eight American states and seventeen Chinese provinces shared ideas and discussed efforts to improve teacher professional development and to implement effective student assessments.

Education leaders from eight American states and seventeen Chinese provinces shared ideas and discussed efforts to improve teacher professional development and to implement effective student assessments.

The U.S. outlined the policy context for assessment in the states and provided a look forward to include Student Learning Objectives and technology based assessments in pursuit of both equity and excellence. The U.S. education chiefs talked about the importance of using assessments formatively to impact instruction and learning and discussed the adoption of higher standards across the country and within their states. In contrast, China’s national assessments, which date back to 605 AD, have traditionally been used to measure academic proficiency and monitor education quality, but current reforms are underway to align them with college entrance requirements and 21st century competencies and to broaden the use of technology in assessment. The rigorous discussion ended with a collective realization that China and the U.S. are in many ways on opposite ends of the assessment continuum and that there are opportunities to learn from each other.

While the education systems in the U.S. and China exhibit a high level of diversity both within and between each country, the dialogue reconfirmed the many common challenges and how the desire to learn from each other brings us closer together. Learning from other countries to improve U.S. education and advance U.S. international priorities is a key objective of the Department’s international strategy.

Maureen McLaughlin is senior advisor to the Secretary and director of International Affairs. Ronn Nozoe is deputy assistant secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education

1 Comment

  1. Let’s not forget that high school is not free in China. Shanghi has one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in the world so their children go to hs but over 50% of the Chinese children do not go to school at age 15 and above. Lets also not forget China has the highest teenage suicide rate and our under extreme pressure to pass tests. They are great test takers but not innovative at all and this can be demonstrated by their rankings in this category of PISA and TIMSS. They have very few patents and they get to keep our technolgy from corporations doing business in their country. I could go on but you get the idea. Sorry but Shanghai should be learning pre-1965 American education if they want to be more successful. If they do then they will surpass America because we have abandoned what once made us the best educated country in the world. I see a lot of Chinese sending their kids here to be educated but I don’t see many kids from the US or any other country trying to get into Chinese schools.

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