The OECD awards first Thomas J. Alexander Fellows for education quality and equity


29/04/2013 - The OECD has named four researchers as the first Thomas J. Alexander Fellows: João Galvão Bacchetto, of Brazil; Przemysław Biecek of Poland; Gabriela Miranda Moriconi of Brazil; and William Schmidt of the United States.


The fellowship programme aims to develop and support improvements in education quality and equity, particularly in emerging economies. It is named after the former head of the OECD Directorate for Education, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. Mr. Alexander, who died in 2012, launched the first OECD Programme for International Student Assessment in 2000, as well as several initiatives with the Open Society Foundations after leaving the OECD.


“I’m delighted to award these first fellowships to these talented experts,” said Barbara Ischinger, OECD Director of Education. “I’m confident that their work will help advance research in this increasingly critical issue of improving quality and equity in education.”


The four Fellows were selected from a field of 68 applicants based on their previous experience and the promise of their proposals.


Mr. Bacchetto, a psychologist and researcher at the National Institute for Educational Studies and Research of Brazil (INEP), works as the National Project Manager of the OECD PISA. As a Fellow, he will prepare the PISA 2012 national report for Brazil, based on the results of the latest round of PISA, which will be released in December 2013.


Mr. Biecek is a researcher in mathematical statistics at the University of Warsaw. His fellowship project involves using data from PISA 2012 to examine the inter-relations between family and school factors that are associated with student achievement. He will use the results from his analyses as the basis of a data visualisation intended for a broad audience.


Ms. Moriconi, a researcher at the Fundação Carlos Chagas in São Paulo, is studying the working conditions of teachers in Brazil and teacher evaluation. As a Fellow, she will use 2013 data from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and a case-study approach to examine how aspects of “communities of practice” and “professional learning communities” are related to teachers’ use of class time.


Mr. Schmidt, a Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University and co-director of the Education Policy Center there, is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Using new data from PISA 2012, Mr. Schmidt will explore the notion of Opportunity To Learn and how it is related to performance, particularly to mathematical literacy.


The Fellows will begin their research projects in Spring 2013 and conclude by Spring 2014. 


The next Call for Proposals is now open; applications are due by 21 June 2013. For more information about the programme please visit or email


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