We’ve all seen headlines like, “U.S. High-School Students Slip in Global Rankings,” (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 3, 2013). But we also know our students can do better. For the first time, individual public charter schools can see how well they are preparing students for 21st century success as compared to schools around the world.
Starting in fall 2014, public charter schools can sign up for the OECD Test for Schools, which is based on the internationally-respected PISA test, administered in more than 70 countries. This new tool measures the knowledge of 15 year olds in reading, math, and science, as well as their ability to reason, analyze information, and solve complex problems. In addition, student surveys given with the test measure student engagement, interactions with teachers, perceptions of school climate, and attitudes toward learning. Participating schools receive a detailed report with insights on how school-level practices can be improved to accelerate student achievement toward globally competitive outcomes.
A sample of 49-85 students in a school, depending on school size, can take the test for valid and comparable results. Total single-day testing time is about three and a half hours, including time to administer student surveys and give students breaks.
Each participating school appoints a test coordinator, who will work with the test vendor, CTB McGraw Hill, to determine the date for assessment. Teachers do not have to administer or score the test; the test vendor does both.
The National Alliance received a grant which will pay the 2014 test cost in exchange for the school agreeing to share their data. The first 28 public charter schools that sign up for the 2014-15 OECD Test for Schools through the NAPCS will be able to administer the exam for free.
Those interested in learning more about the OECD Test for Schools can do so at http://www.oecd.org/pisa/