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links school and district level state level resources

State Level

Increasing Coursework Benchmarked to International Standards

  • Increase the availability of Advanced Placement® (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate® (IB) courses, Cambridge AICE (British A-Level) Examinations and/or other dual credit courses by establishing a funding source or seeking grant funds for expanding districts’ dual credit programs aligned to international standards.
  • Introduce a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative that includes alignment of STEM standards to international standards, through a state-funded alignment study.
  • Identify and use exisiting courses already benchmarked to international standards.
  • In states with statewide textbook adoption, create policies for adopting only those materials that are aligned to international standards and have been evaluated and validated by an external source.
  • Create and/or fund after-school and youth programs that are aligned to international standards and 21st century skills.

Teacher and Administrator Mentoring and Coaching

  • Create or promote school, district or state-based teacher mentoring, and principal and teacher leadership opportunities. The training can lead to higher retention, more effective teachers and administrators, and increased student achievement in the classroom.
    (See Additional Resources at the end of this section.)

Teaching Standards and Preparation

  • Articulate a framework for the teaching profession that is clear, compelling and performance-based.
  • Revise requirements for teacher preparation programs and licensure and certification to promote competencies aligned to international standards.
  • Establish criteria for excellence and effectiveness of quality teacher-preparation programs in the state.
  • Adopt teacher and administrator placement policies that ensure the most skilled professionals work where they are most needed.
  • Provide support and incentives for benchmarking state teacher preparation program standards to international teacher preparation standards.
  • Review the report, How the World’s Best-Performing School Systems Come out on Top. (2)

An examination of 25 world school systems found that the top 10 high-performing school systems had the following commonalities:

  •  “The experiences of these top school systems suggest that three things matter most:
    1. Getting the right people to become teachers
    2. Developing them into effective instructors
    3. Ensuring that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child.” (3)
  • These three commonalities were found to be successful in each of the high-performing school systems, “irrespective of the culture in which they are applied.” (4)


  1. King’s Assessment for Learning Group Web site, including work by Dr. Dylan Wiliam,

  2. McKinsey & Company, How the World’s Best-Performing School Systems Come Out on Top, September 2007,

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

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