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New Zealand's education system has ranked 8th in a new global league table published by education firm Pearson.
The test compares the performance of 50 'developed world' countries in cognitive skills and education attainment, drawing on existing data from the international OECD-Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study assessments.
Pearson's chief education adviser, Sir Michael Barber, said successful countries gave teachers a high status and had a "culture" of education.
The report finds Finland and South Korea have emerged as "education superpowers". Finland tops the PISA rankings.
"It is hard to imagine two more different systems: the latter [South Korea] is frequently characterised as test-driven and rigid with students putting in extraordinary work time; the Finnish system is much more relaxed and flexible," Mr Barber said.
"Closer examination shows that both countries develop high-quality teachers, value accountability, and have a moral mission that underlies education efforts."
Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh said it was significant New Zealand remained in the top 10 education performers in the developed world.
However, he said New Zealand still had significant issues to address around equity and poverty.
The rankings combine international test results and data such as graduation rates between 2006 and 2010.
The latest league table also includes figures on how many people go on to university.
New Zealand ranked 7th in the 2009 PISA test, which assesses 15-year-olds' achievement in reading, mathematics and science.