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In the field of comparative education there is a vast and growing amount of research on how education policy agendas are formed at the transnational level, and how these…
In the field of comparative education there is a vast and growing amount of research on how education policy agendas are formed at the transnational level, and how these may influence policymaking in individual countries. Particularly the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) play an important role in the dissemination of education policies. This article seeked to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of how the two organizations have formulated their policy advice concerning quality assurance and evaluation of school education toward the intended beneficiaries of such advice, either in standardized form or taking into account local contexts. The case countries were Brazil, China, and Russia (BCR), which in terms of their political power and economic resources differ from the typical World Bank client countries, but at the same time are not OECD members. Our data consisted of World Bank and OECD publications from the three BCR countries published during two decades from the mid-1990s onward. The document analysis was complemented by some factual information gained through interviews of relevant actors. In the analyzed material prescriptions given in the tone of “international best practice” were predominant. This position saw the quality of education as a concept that has a globally applicable definition. In addition, the advice directed at Russia and China has in an ambivalent manner acknowledged the sociocultural context of the concept of quality in the national pedagogical tradition.