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Volume 30, Number 3
May/June 2014

Quietly, a New Test Gains Advocates

Schools volunteer to test their students against global competitors


North Star Academy in Newark, N.J., is one of a growing number of schools looking to compare the performance of its students to those in other countries.

As educators and policymakers continue to debate the value of the new Common Core assessments and other mandatory assessments, a small but growing number of schools and districts are signing up to participate in a new and different kind of test: the OECD Test for Schools, a voluntary assessment designed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to gauge the thinking skills and attitudes of 15-year-olds.

Piloted during the 2012–13 school year at 105 U.S. schools, including a mix of traditional, magnet, and charter schools (and one private school), the new test was administered at nearly 300 schools this school year. Results will be available to participating schools as early as this month.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.