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Comparing High-Performing Education Systems: Understanding Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong

Tan, Charlene (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

978 0 8153 7592 0
List price(s):
39.95 USD
29.99 GBP

Publication date:
3 September 2018

Full description: 

Comparing High-Performing Education Systems provides original insights into the educational structures, ideologies, policies, and practices in Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Taking as its basis their global reputation and consistently strong performance in formal assessments, the author provides an in-depth analysis and comparison of these three education systems that draws on cutting-edge research. Chapters explore the dominant cultural and educational norms in Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to give a wider picture of these high-performing education systems. The performance of students in international large-scale assessments such as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is considered, alongside an exploration of attitudes to schooling, tutoring, and assessment. The book shows how Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong exemplify an East Asian Educational Model (EAEM). Such a model - is rooted in and shaped by Confucian habitus: unconscious and ingrained worldviews, dispositions, and habits that reflect the standards of appropriateness in a Confucian Heritage Culture; aspires high performance: a balance between academic excellence and holistic development; and utilises educational harmonisation: the art of bringing together different and contradictory means and ends to achieve desired educational outcomes. Informative and thought-provoking, this book is a useful reference for policymakers, researchers, educators, and general readers on high-performing education systems, school reforms in East Asia, Confucian influences on education, and cross-cultural policy learning and transfer.

Table of contents: 

List of Appendices, Chart, Figures, Photos, and Tables List of Abbreviations Preface Acknowledgements Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Performance as Testing: International Large-Scale Assessments Chapter 3: Formal Assessment, Private Tutoring, and Confucian Habitus Chapter 4: Beyond High-Stakes Exams: Holistic Education in Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong Chapter 5: Educational Harmonisation and an East Asian Educational Model (EAEM) Chapter 6: Pragmatism in Singapore Chapter 7: Correlative Thinking in Shanghai Chapter 8: East-West Balance in Hong Kong Chapter 9: Conclusions and Implications Appendices References Index


Charlene Tan, PhD, is an associate professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has held visiting appointments at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; Institute of International and Comparative Education, Beijing Normal University; and Centre for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy, City University of Hong Kong.



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