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The Anatomy of Achievement GapsWhy and How American Education is Losing (but can still Win) the War on Underachievement$
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Jaekyung Lee

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190217648

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217648.001.0001

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Balancing Act

Balancing Act

International Policy Benchmarking and Education Reforms

(p.265) 8 Balancing Act
The Anatomy of Achievement Gaps

Jaekyung Lee

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of international education reform in terms of globality. Did American school reform policies benchmark Asian counterparts to narrow the international education deficit and achievement gap over the past decades? What lessons can the American education system learn from high-performing Asian nations? The international comparison reveals both positive and negative aspects of the American school system in comparison with Asian counterparts including South Korea. While the United States instituted more centralized curriculum and high-stakes testing to improve academic achievement and accountability, Korea decentralized and loosened national curriculum and testing to improve student attitudes and creativity. Despite educational benchmarking efforts between the two countries, policy impacts on student outcomes were tenuous, and their gaps in student outcomes persist. It is argued that American education needs to achieve better balance: building on its strengths in creativity and pedagogy while addressing deficiencies in curriculum standards and teacher quality.

Keywords:   globality, comparative education, international achievement gap, education reform, education policy, standards-based education, accountability, Korean education

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