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Method in our madness? The advantages and limitations of mapping other jurisdictions' educational policy and practice

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Elliott, Gill 


Making comparisons between different nations' educational systems is challenging and, whilst it is beneficial to study the education systems of other jurisdictions in order to evaluate alternative approaches and to explore innovation, it is important to temper enthusiasm for alternative systems' successes with a realistic appraisal of the similarities and differences of their systems; their cultures and the dynamics at play in their schools.

Mapping exercises have been used to illuminate contrasts between different international approaches to education and assessment. This paper addresses the advantages and limitations of making comparisons with other jurisdictions, informed by our experiences whilst undertaking a large project during which a total of more than twenty jurisdictions were included in a number of different levels of comparison.



Standards, Evaluation of assessment

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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