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New Case Study Examines How Three School Systems Use a Global Benchmark to Improve Teaching and Learning

WASHINGTON, DC—A new case study released today by the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy provides superintendents, principals, and teachers with information on how three school systems have used an assessment developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to monitor students’ academic outcomes and inform shifts in policy and teacher practice to meet students’ learning needs.

The assessment, the OECD Test for Schools, is based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a series of tests in reading, math, and science that is given every three years to more than 500,000 fifteen-year-olds in seventy-plus countries and economies. PISA assesses how well students can apply their knowledge to real-life situations, but its sample size is too small to create actionable data for superintendents, principals, and teachers to develop strategies for improving student learning outcomes.

“In today’s economy, the competition for jobs is a global one,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Through the OECD Test for Schools, educators get a better understanding of what world-class performance looks like, see how their students stack up against their peers in leading economies worldwide, and receive actionable data that they can apply in the classroom to improve teaching and learning.”

The case study, OECD Test for Schools: How Three School Systems Are Improving Student Achievement, made possible with support from the Kern Family Foundation, focuses on the experiences of Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia; Granger Independent School District in Texas; and University Academy charter school in Kansas City, Missouri. It explores their reasons for introducing the OECD Test for Schools; the process of implementing it; the benefits for students, teachers, and administrators; and the next steps that the school systems are taking.

Today, at 3:00 p.m. (ET), the Alliance will host a webinar on the OECD Test for Schools featuring Clem Ukaoma, the upper school principal at University Academy, and Granger Independent School District Superintendent Randy Willis. It will also feature Ashley Berner, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Winsome Waite, senior director of policy and advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education. To access video from the webinar, visit

“Despite their different contexts, district and school leaders in Gwinnett, Granger, and Kansas City offer remarkably consistent messages about the OECD Test for Schools,” the case study notes. “The OECD Test for Schools provides clear messages about student success; elevates the culture of teaching and learning; and sets students on an internationally competitive academic and vocational path.”

Download OECD Test for Schools: How Three School Systems Are Improving Student Achievement at


The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, a career, and citizenship.