Big picture thinking How to educate the whole person…

Programme for International Student Assessment
Veronica Boix Mansilla
Andreas Schleicher
© OECD 2022


Globalisation and digitalisation have connected people, cities, countries and continents in ways
that vastly increase our individual and collective potential. But the same forces have also made the
world more volatile, more complex, more uncertain and more ambiguous. The world is witnessing
a growing disconnect between an infinite growth imperative and the finite resources and delicate
ecosystems of our planet; between the financial economy and the real economy; between the
wealthy and the poor; between the concept of gross domestic product and the well-being of people;
between technology and social needs; and between governance and the perceived voicelessness
of people.

No one should hold education responsible for all of this but neither should anyone underestimate
the role that people’s knowledge, skills, attitudes and values play in social and economic
development and in shaping the cultural context.

In today’s world, education is no longer just about teaching students something but about helping
them develop a reliable compass and the tools to confidently navigate through an increasingly
complex, volatile and uncertain world. Success in education today is about identity, it is about
agency and it is about purpose. It is about building curiosity – opening minds. It is about compassion
– opening hearts. And it is about courage – mobilising our cognitive, social and emotional resources
to take action. These are also our best weapons against the biggest threats of our times: ignorance
– the closed mind; hate – the closed heart; and fear – the enemy of agency.

Things that are easy to teach and test have become easy to digitise and automate. We know how to
educate learners who are good at repeating what we tell them. But in this age of acceleration and
artificial intelligence, we need to think harder about what makes us human.

Algorithms that sort us into groups of like-minded individuals create social media echo chambers
that amplify our views and insulate us from opposing arguments that may alter our beliefs. These
virtual bubbles homogenise opinions and polarise our societies; and they can have a significant
– and adverse – impact on democratic processes. Those algorithms are not a design flaw; it is how
social media works. There is a scarcity of attention but an abundance of information. We are living
in a digital bazaar where anything that is not built for the network age is cracking apart under its

The conventional approach in school is to break problems down into manageable bits and pieces
and then to teach students how to solve these bits and pieces. But modern societies create value by
synthesising different fields of knowledge and making connections between ideas that previously
seemed unrelated. Innovation comes from connecting the dots.

In today’s schools, students typically learn individually and at the end of the school year, we certify
their individual achievements. But the more interdependent the world becomes, the more we
need great collaborators and orchestrators. We can see during this pandemic how the well-being
of countries depends increasingly on people’s capacity to take collective action. Schools need to
help students learn to be autonomous in their thinking and aware of the pluralism of modern living.
This is important. At work, at home and in the community, people will need a broad understanding
of how others live in different cultures and traditions, and how others think, whether as scientists
or as artists.

The foundation for this doesn’t entirely develop naturally. We are all born with “bonding social
capital”, a sense of belonging to our family or other people with shared experiences, common
purposes or pursuits. But it requires deliberate and continuous efforts to create the kind of “bridging
social capital” through which we can share experiences, ideas and innovation with others, and
increase our radius of trust to strangers and institutions.

These considerations led PISA, the global standard for measuring the quality of educational
outcomes, to include ‘global competence’ in its latest evaluation of 66 school systems. To do well on
this assessment, students had to demonstrate that they can combine knowledge about the world
with critical reasoning, and that they were able to adapt their behaviour and communication to
interact with individuals from different traditions and cultures.

It is perhaps no surprise that countries that generally do well in education also tended to show
higher levels of global competence: students in Singapore and Canada who do well on the PISA
subject matter tests also came out on top in global competence. What is more interesting, however,
is that a country like Colombia where students often struggle with reading, math and science tasks
does far better on global competence than predicted by its reading, math and science scores.
Also Scotland, Spain, Israel, Panama, Greece, Croatia, Costa Rica and Morocco did better than
expected. In turn, students in Korea and the Russian Federation did less well than predicted. In other
words, global competence is not an automatic by-product of academic learning, it is something
that needs to be nurtured.

But how can this be done effectively? How do we design curricula, instruction, assessments, and
learning environments that develop students’ global competence?

This publication offers research-informed and actionable pedagogical principles that policy
makers, leaders, and educators can use to support equitable and effective global and intercultural
competence education. It includes case studies to illustrate these guiding principles in
real-life contexts like classrooms, museums, learning centres, cultural exchange programmes, and
digital platforms. Around the world today, teachers like Marissa (Box 1) are embracing the shifting
demands of their profession.

Read the Full Report – Big Picture Thinking: How to educate the whole person for an interconnected world by OECD – Issuu

How Learning Continued during the COVID-19 Pandemic – Global…

This report brings together 45 of the education continuity stories that were jointly documented by the OECD, the World Bank, Harvard’s Global Education Innovation Initiative and HundrED during the first wave of school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers a variety of different examples on how governments and non-governmental organisations quickly responded to school closures to implement a strategy for learners around the world to continue to study. While often based on the use of digital solutions, those solutions target specific solutions aimed at academic learning, socio-emotional support, teacher professional development, etc. The book covers examples from low, middle and high income countries on all continents and draws some lessons of these fast-paced responses to reimagine a post-pandemic education across the world.

OECD-WB How Learning Continued during COVID – edu-2022-61-en – Launch version
24 Jan 2022  384 pages  English

Authors: OECD and The World Bank  Editors: Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin, Cristóbal Cobo Romaní and Fernando Reimers


Vincent-Lancrin, S., C. Cobo Romaní and F. Reimers (eds.) (2022), How Learning Continued during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Global Lessons from Initiatives to Support Learners and Teachers, OECD Publishing, Paris,

UNESCO-Fazheng: Best practices in mobile learning

UNESCO-Fazheng project case studies

(As one of the main founding organisations, Fazheng Group presents these articles:

There are two types of case study:

  • top-down mobile learning initiatives attempted by governments and ministries of education
  • grass root (bottom-up) initiatives implemented in schools

The following were selected for inclusion in the publication and will be published later this year both on and offline.

Top-down cases

Download summaries of top-down case studies

Establishing a system for developing digitally mature schools in Croatia

Establishing a system for developing digitally mature schools in Croatia
e-Schools: Establishing a System for Developing Digitally Mature Schools, CARNET, Croatia



  • Future Classroom Lab, European Schoolnet
  • Future School, Singapore
  • Future School Lab, People’s Republic of China
  • Future Ready Schools, United States of America

Bottom-up cases

Download summaries of bottom-up case studies

Mobile learning for individualized education in China

Mobile learning for individualized education in China
Shuren Jingrui Primary School, China


Mobile learning as a catalyst to global citizenship education in China

Mobile learning as a catalyst to global citizenship education in China
Beijing Royal School, People’s Republic of China


Developing and delivering a successful technology for learning strategy in the UK

Developing and delivering a successful technology for learning strategy in the UK
Denbigh High School, Luton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Mobile technologies for lifewide learning in schools in Israel

Mobile technologies for lifewide learning in schools in Israel
Amal Shevach Mofet High School, Israel


Calling for a New Approach to Building 21st Workforces:…


Calling for a New Approach to Building 21st Workforces: It’s About Skills Development, Not Education Attainment, Argue Experts Convened by the Forum for World Education

As wealthy and developing nations alike seek to create workforces geared to 21st century opportunities and challenges, they are devoting intense effort to ensuring that students spend more years in school and earn higher-level degrees. But that emphasis may be misplaced, according to new analyses of the Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), the world’s largest skills assessment of adults, and other research.

Findings from PIAAC, administered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggest that educational attainment does not necessarily correlate with skills development. Instead, to provide pathways out of poverty and build competitive economies, nations must focus on instilling foundational literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills. For many students, intensive career and technical education (CTE) may provide the best hope for learning and applying 21st century skills in a constantly changing world.

Those were some of the key takeaways from a recent webinar hosted by the Forum for World Education (FWE), a global nonprofit working to catalyze the transformation of education systems by creating a partnership between business and thought leaders.

Watch The Webinar:

“Research has shown that higher-order skills rely on adequate levels of foundational skills that include literacy and numeracy,” said Irwin Kirsch, Director of the Centers for Global Assessment & Research on Human Capital and Education at Educational Testing Service. “If societies want employees who can learn independently and efficiently problem-solve in tech-intensive environments, they’ll need workers and citizens with these skills. The growing divergence between educational attainment and skills in PIAAC data raises critical questions about policies focused on educational credentials without similar consideration of skills development.”

Joining Kirsch, the moderator, on the panel were:

  • William Thorne, Senior Analyst in the Directorate of Education and Skills at OECD and PIAAC Project Director
  • Guido Schwerdt, Professor of Economics at the University of Konstanz in Germany
  • Alexandria Valerio, Resident Representative for The World Bank in the Dominican Republic, Latin America and Caribbean
  • Madon Padaki, Managing Trustee for the Head Held High Foundation, which seeks to transform he lives of rural, low-educated youth in India.

Among the key findings from their presentations:

Data from PIAAC are providing the first comparable measures over time of literacy and numeracy and revealing changes in the literacy and numeracy proficiency in dozens of countries during the past 20 years, Thorne reported.

The PIAAC results confirm that:

  • Younger adults (ages 25 to 34) score higher than adults ages 55-65, due to “age effects” and, typically, being much better educated than their older peers.
  • People who score higher in numeracy display higher levels of trust than others in society; greater belief that they can influence the political process; greater participation in voluntary activities such as associations; better health; higher wages.

Other analyses underscore that proficiency in key skills rather than educational attainment is driving the world’s more developed and faster-growing economies, Schwerdt reported.

  • A new test score-based measure of the “knowledge capital” of different nations – the marketable skills possessed by their workforces – shows that merely attending school for one year more has no impact on aggregate growth above and beyond its impact on the development of cognitive skills.
  • Schwerdt has shown that an increase of one standard deviation in an individual’s numeracy skills is associated with 20 percent higher earnings. But labor market returns to cognitive skills vary from increases of nearly 50 percent in earnings in faster-growing economies to increases of only 10 percent – a finding “very consistent with the idea that skills are particularly important to economies and for adaptations to new technologies.”

During the past 13 years, the World Bank’s STEP Skills Measurement has created a new window onto skills in developing countries, Valerio reported.  

  • Despite a substantial increase in schooling enrollment and attainment, STEP finds that improvement in skills worldwide has been, on average “narrow and uneven.” Only 35 percent of entrants into primary education complete upper secondary education, Valerio reported, and in some regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the figure is below 25 percent.
  • The skills gap resulting from trends becomes permanent, with adults who emerge from education systems without robust fine literacy skills never acquiring the skills required for the labor market. In Bolivia, Ghana and Kenya, more than half of adults score below level two on literacy and are not job-ready or training-ready, Valerio said.


For the world’s poorest young people, targeted CTE may reap the greatest rewards. Padaki described the successes of the Head Held High Foundation’s “Make India Capable” program, a six-month, thousand-hour initiative to transform illiterate young adults in rural villages into skilled professionals in fields such as business process outsourcing. 

  • The Make India Capable (MIC) initiative transforms illiterate villagers into capable workers. It creates employment and business opportunities through life-skills training programs that are scalable and sustainable.
  • Head Held High, recipient of the CNN Real Heroes Award, has reached more than 10,000 youth and It aims to move 2 million villagers out of poverty by 2022.

“We’re still in the discovery phase, but I’d love to figure out how we can collaboratively build something that will work not just in India, but for the world as well,” Padaki said.

The Forum for World Education is a non-profit world organization with its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts and with operations in major cities throughout the world. Its mission is to transform education in answer to the skills and knowledge requirements of current and future global society, its economic growth, societal progress and sustainability. FWE’s founders and steering committee include members of the OECD, former U.S. government officials, global business leaders and scholars from leading universities around the world.


Beijing Royal School 25th Anniversary & 6th Integrate to…


On behalf of Fazheng Group/Beijing Royal School, we warmly invite you as our most valued guests to watch the Live Stream of Beijing Royal School 25th Anniversary & 6th Integrate to Innovate International Education Forum, which will be held on Tuesday 9:30am 28th Sep Beijing Time (Monday 21:30 27th Sep EDT).

Please kindly scan any of the two QR codes showed below or click the link here for watching the Live Stream:

We appreciate your time and your long-term support, and we hope you could join us to celebrate this very BIG event for Fazheng Group/Beijing Royal School!

Academy for Leadership in Teacher Education (ALiTE) International Webinar…

The Faculty of Education of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) proudly presents the Distinguished Lecture of the Academy for Leadership in Teacher Education  (ALiTE)  International  Webinar  Series  for  Exemplary  Scholarship on “Educating Learners for Their Future – Not Our Past”, sponsored by the Tin Ka Ping Education Fund of the Tin Ka Ping Foundation. The lecture is to be delivered by Professor Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills & Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General, OECD, in September 2021.

In this lecture, Professor Schleicher will discuss what tomorrow’s schools need to do in order to help students think for themselves and join others in work and citizenship, the application of technology and the synthesis of different fields of knowledge, so as to reach a more integrated future.

Members of the media are welcome to cover this online event. Details are as follows:

Date: September 17, 2021 (Friday)
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm (HKT)

Speaker: Professor Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Language: English
ZOOM Webinar

Professor Andreas Schleicher has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders around the world to improve quality and equity in education. He initiated and oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international instruments that have created a global platform for policy-makers, researchers and educators across nations and cultures to innovate and transform educational policies and practices. Before joining the OECD, he was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). For more details, please visit:

For media enquiries, please contact Ms Emily Cheung, Senior Manager (Development and Communications), Faculty of Education, HKU (Tel.: 3917 4270 / E-mail: [email protected]).

To Shoulder the Responsibility of A New Era: Commencement…

On May 28, Beijing Royal School honored the Class of 2021 with a grand commencement ceremony. The ceremony displayed the BRS pride in all graduates who demonstrated amazing tenacity and resilience in challenging times, and received offers from a wide range of prestigious universities and colleges around the world.

The commencement started with an impressive opening in eight languages by student hosts, after which Mr. Mo Jingqi, the Deputy Director of National Institute for Curriculum and Textbook Research, the Deputy Director of National Center for School Curriculum and Textbook Development sent his greetings and congratulations to all the BRS graduates. Mr. Heng Xiaojun, Former Minister-Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Canada, and Mr. Cen Jianjun, Former Minister-Counselor (Education) at the Chinese Embassy in the United States spoke highly of the graduates’ performance, and congratulated them on a new chapter of their life. They also encouraged the young to be confident, independent, self-disciplined and self-driven as they strive for greater academic success and personal growth in the future, while cherish their love for the country and people.

Mr. Mo Jingqi, the Deputy Director of National Institute for Curriculum and Textbook Research

Mr. Heng Xiaojun, Former Minister-Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Canada

Mr. Cen Jianjun, Former Minister-Counselor (Education) at the Chinese Embassy in the United States

Mr. Liu Kairan, the representative of 2021  graduates,  and Dr. Huang Xun, the Deputy of the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also the representative of the family of the graduates respectively spoke on the world view of the young and the world’s expectation for the young. Ms. Lisa Buzenas, Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in China and the Director of Beijing American Center encouraged the young to actively engage in cross-cultural communications and embrace the dynamic international community. Then, Ms. Fang Yuanyuan, the Class Dean of 2021, congratulated the students on the hard-earned results in the application season, and encouraged them to be upright, truthful and grateful, and to become people who they honor, and proactively assume their responsibilities to the country and society.

Mr. Liu Kairan, the representative of 2021 graduates

Ms. Lisa Buzenas, Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in China and the Director of Beijing American Center

Ms. Fang Yuanyuan, the Class Dean of 2021

Mr. Wang Guangfa, Founder and President of Fazheng International Education Group and Chief Principal of Beijing Royal School gave a speech in which he extended a warm welcome to all guests for their attendance, sincere thanks to parents of the graduates for their long support and understanding, and to teachers for their continued commitment. Principal Wang emphasized that the young should hold great ideals and aspirations to contribute to the development of the country and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. What they need to do is to keep pace with the advancement of science and technology, bear in mind their mission and responsibility for the country and society, and live every day to the fullest.

Mr. Wang Guangfa, Founder and President of Fazheng International Education Group and Chief Principal of Beijing Royal School

The highlight of the ceremony, which has been the most anticipated part of the event, was the gifts display by the Class of 2021. The gifts included a BRS Digital Information Technology Report composed by graduates to optimize the IT workflow and improve efficiency, and a Confucius statue model built with over 1,000 Lego blocks. The gifts not only demonstrated their gratitude to Alma-Mater, but also serve as meaningful birthday gifts as BRS is preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary later this year.

After years of hard work, we are proud to see that the graduates are about to set out on a new journey into an ever-so-splendid world. We cheer for them, not only because they have received offers from the world’s leading universities in US, UK, Canada and Australia, even scholarships from some of the “crème de la crème” institutes such as Berklee College of Music and Parsons School of Design, but also because they have made the breakthroughs in academic research and publications, demonstrated outstanding competencies in international competitions and artistic achievements.

For more information about Beijing Royal School (BRS), please visit BRS Website:

Announcement: The Chinese/English Journal of Educational Measurement and Evaluation…

The Chinese/English Journal of Educational Measurement and Evaluation | 教育测量与评估双语季刊 | 教育测量与评估双语季刊 is published in Chinese and English and is cosponsored by National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) and Beijing Normal University (BNU). The Chinese/English Journal of Educational Measurement and Evaluation | 教育测量与评估双语季刊publishes original empirical articles which present new approaches to educational measurement and evaluation, as well as review articles which share advances in scholarship and practice between China and the assessment and evaluation communities throughout the world. All articles can be downloaded for free.

CEJEME will be co-edited by Professors Li Cai (UCLA) and Tao Xin(BNU). The journal will be published electronically, beginning in 2020, with all articles presented in both English and Chinese. The mission of the journal is to share advances in scholarship and practice between China and the assessment and evaluation communities in the US and beyond. CEJEME will:

  • Give members of the Chinese assessment and evaluation communities a vehicle for disseminating their advances in scholarship and practice to members of the assessment and evaluation communities around the world; and
  • Give assessment and evaluation community members outside of China a vehicle for sharing their advances in scholarship and practice with their Chinese colleagues


《教育测量与评估双语季刊》(CEJEME)由美国教育测量协会(NCME)和北京师范大学共同承办, 并将以两种语言(中文和英文)出版。CEJEME将发表关于教育测量与评估新方法的原创性实证文章,同时发表能够促进中国与美国及其他地区教育测量和评估团体间学术和实践经验的交流的评论性文章。教育测量与评估双语季刊 | 教育测量与评估双语季刊是免费的。

FWE congratulates Planning Committee member, Randy Bennett on receiving…

2020 Award Recipient

Randy E. Bennett
Educational Testing Service

Dr. Randy Bennett holds the Norman O. Frederiksen Chair in Assessment Innovation at the Educational Testing Service.  During much of his career at ETS, Dr. Bennett has worked on applying insights from cognitive psychology to improving educational assessment with a special emphasis on linking assessment to instruction. For over a decade he directed CBAL—a project on Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning at ETS where he has developed a unified model for formative and summative assessments in reading, writing and science. Dr. Bennett is a prolific scholar having edited or co-edited seven books, thirty book chapters and seventy journal articles as well as scores of technical reports. In addition to this award, he was elected as president of both the National Council of Measurement in Education and the International Association for Educational Assessment.

Read More –

Named in honor of an outstanding scholar and researcher, this annual award is presented jointly by the American Educational Research Association and ACT in recognition of outstanding applied or theoretical research in the field of testing and measurement. The award is meant to acknowledge a body of research of an empirical, theoretical, or integrative nature rather than a single study. Although the research is not required to have led directly to improved educational practices, it should nevertheless be rich in suggestions for additional research that does hold such promise. Particular emphasis will be given to research that has advanced the companion goals of greater understanding and improved use of testing and measurement techniques. Awardees may include individuals conducting research in a broad array of disciplines, such as education and psychology. 

The winner of the award will be invited to give the E. F. Lindquist Award Lecture at the following Annual Meeting. An article emanating from the lecture will be considered for publications in the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics.

Before 1987, the Award recognized only outstanding research in college student development. In 1987 and subsequent years it acquired a broader scope of recognition.