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OECD Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

The OECD Test for Schools is a voluntary, no-stakes assessment for learning and improving, not an accountability measure. This is not a state standardized test given to all students. Only a small sample is tested, and the test measures what students already know, requiring no test preparation.

Following a successful pilot in 2012 of approximately 100 schools in 22 states, the OECD Test for Schools became available to every high school in America in 2013. That fall, HCPSS registered each of its 12 high schools for participation. In February 2014, a random sampling fifteen year-old students in each of the HCPSS high schools participated in the OECD Test for Schools. Each school has received a detailed report to help leverage results to provide professional learning and improve practices.

Parents received a letter that explained their child’s random selection, the purpose of the assessment that would report only school-level results, and the option to exempt their child. School administrators met with students to explain the importance of the assessment and their valuable role in representing the school. Students were excused from class assignments on the day of the test.

Using OECD Test for Schools data results, HCPSS has demonstrated that schools in this school district are performing as well as world-leading school systems; in some cases, HCPSS schools are outperforming world-leading school systems. HCPSS is committed to applying new understandings and insight to further develop innovative approaches and strategies to teaching and learning. Relevance, rigor and relationships are key factors identified by experts at America Achieves. Vision 2018 highlights rigor and acceleration, engagement, performance and well-being. The OECD Test for Schools provides one measure of performance in HCPSS and multiple measures are already in place to reflect academic learning and feedback on academic progress.

Why is this administered in HCPSS?

The OECD Test for Schools offers a powerful resource for improving individual schools and school systems across the country. The test measures deep conceptual understanding in reading, mathematics, and science, as well as applied learning in novel situations that require problem solving and critical thinking. The results, in turn, provide an opportunity for HCPSS to benchmark student performance against student performance internationally.

The survey of student attitudes about learning and student opinions about the school culture adds rich meaning and key insights into student engagement and student perceptions. This global benchmarking tool complements Vision 2018: Every student is inspired to learn and empowered to excel. It emphasizes key outcomes for a rigorous and globally relevant program that is aligned with international and/or national college and career-readiness standards.

With the OECD Test for Schools score, HCPSS will:

  • Use results for school improvement planning to link 21st century skills, global competencies and deeper learning;
  • Build structures for vertical and horizontal collaboration to promote conceptual learning and a growth mindset; and
  • Engage students in authentic learning experiences to solve real-world problems through performance-based tasks.

Who do we administer it to?

To ensure comparable results, a sample of 85 15-year old students from each of the 12 HCPSS high schools was randomly selected by CTB/McGraw Hill; both the Division of Accountability and CTB/McGraw Hill reviewed allowable accommodations.