Could your school lead in world rankings?

The report, based on new analyses of math and science data disaggregated by economic and social advantage from the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), reveals that U.S. students in the second to top quarter of socio-economic advantage lag behind their international peers and are “significantly” outperformed by 24 countries and regions in math and by 15 in science.

Previously published results show that U.S. students in the second quarter of economic advantage “lag significantly” behind 10 other countries in reading.

“Mounting evidence clearly shows that our educational performance is not just a challenge of poverty, it’s an American challenge. Many middle class schools in the U.S. are not yet producing students ready to compete in the global economy,” the report says.

However, the report also contains good news. Thanks to the new test developed by OECD, 7,000 15-year-old U.S. students across 105 schools in 22 states participated in a pilot that benchmarked students’ proficiency in reading, math, and science against the world’s top education systems. Some individual U.S. schools outperform the average results of every country in the world that participated in PISA 2009.

Woodson High School in Virginia and BASIS Tucson North in Arizona performed higher than the average performance of every other nation in the world.

The test revealed that low-income schools can be globally competitive, too. North Star Academy—a non-selective, predominantly low-income school in New Jersey—cracked the world’s top 10 by outperforming all but the average of nine countries in reading.

The test also highlights poor performing schools. For instance, a middle class school serving a similar student population as Woodson and BASIS had lower results than those of some 29 countries in math, 21 in science, and 35 in reading.

“As it turns out, under its home state grading system based on the state assessment, this underperforming school (by global standards) earned an ‘A’ in 2011-2012,” the report notes.

(Next page: How to sign up for the test)

Meris Stansbury

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