Schools need more than just autonomy to improve standards

A new report from Australia’s Grattan Institute uses data from two international surveys conducted by the OECD – the Programme for International School Assessment (PISA) and the Teaching and Learning International Survey – to explore a number of issues around standards, including whether giving schools more autonomy can improve achievement.

The report concludes that the link between high autonomy and high performance is weak. Instead, the world’s best-performing school systems articulate the best ways to teach and learn, then implement reform through high-quality systems of teacher development, appraisal, and feedback, among other policies. Autonomous schools in Australia and other countries, they say, are no better at implementing these programmes than are centralised schools.