NWEA Goes Global: Our Partnership with OECD

Teens in Learning EnvironmentRecently, we at NWEA updated our vision statement. Our mission remains partnering to help all kids learn, but as we have grown and as the world educators inhabit has been buffeted by changes, we started to think about the system that learning occurs in, and the need to have a transformational effect on it. Our new vision statement is this: NWEA positively transforms education to accelerate growth and mastery for each student. That’s a tall order, but we are always up for a challenge, and today I can share one way that we are moving closer to making that vision a reality. It’s my distinct pleasure to announce our partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  After a great deal of determination and hard work, NWEA is now the official test provider for the OECD Test for Schools in the U.S. and the international platform provider worldwide.

It’s an honor to partner with the OECD to bring this assessment to schools in the U.S. during this academic year, and worldwide starting next year. OECD is, of course, best known for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. The OECD Test for Schools uses test questions similar to the PISA, and is scored on the same scale as the PISA, but provides school-level benchmark information that can be used to drive system-level change.

It is exciting to support a test that helps administrators, teachers, kids, parents and other educators…preparing students for life…

Schools administer the OECD Test for Schools to a random sample of 15-year-olds (and small – just 85 students) to assess how well the district is preparing them in math, science, and reading compared to their peers in the United States and in other countries. Additionally, the test assesses problem solving and critical thinking, and includes a unique student survey questionnaire that gathers data about student attitudes and school culture. This results in a comprehensive and valuable report that illuminates how well schools are preparing their students for the world.

The evidence of school performance provided by the test is the kind of systemic, positive transformation of education we seek through our vision.  At a time when so much focus is on proficiency and accountability, it is exciting to support a test that helps administrators, teachers, kids, parents and other educators understand if their school is preparing students for life and work in the broader world. Last week I was privileged to participate in the annual convening of OECD schools, with about 300 participants from 85 schools. The passion, vision, values, and commitment of the participants was truly inspiring.

We could not be prouder of this new chapter, and invite you to learn more at: OECDSchoolTest.nwea.org.

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