What Applied Knowledge Looks Like
BASIS Students and OECD / PISA



More than rankings, more than AP scores and state assessments and the many wonderful and deserved individual honors that our students earn, the results that consistently come back from one particular national and international assessment
truly showcase the magic that happens in the classrooms of BASIS schools.

That assessment is the OECD Test for Schools (based on PISA).


Here’s why it’s such a vital assessment tool, to make sure what we do
in our schools is working:

OECD/PISA is a student assessment tool geared for use by schools,
districts and networks of schools to support research, benchmarking
and school improvement efforts.

That is, it is built as an assessment tool. It’s purpose is to see how you’re doing,
how you are educating, compared to other schools in your network, district, state,
nation, or the world.


OECD/PISA provides descriptive information and analysis on the skills and creative application of knowledge of 15-year-old students in reading, math and science, comparable to existing PISA scales.

That is, the assessment is acclaimed particularly because
it focuses not just on what students know. Rather, it shows
how students apply what they know.

Finally, it also does a little research about how “happy” students are in their schools
and with their teachers.


It is great data to have, use, and implement to improve. Can you fathom how vital that information is, to the teachers and department heads, to the Heads of School and curricular experts, who work for BASIS.ed?

I’ll bet you can!

This year, 15-year-old students at six BASIS charter schools were eligible to take
the OECD/PISA exam (up from four schools last year). Those schools were:

  • BASIS Chandler
  • BASIS Flagstaff
  • BASIS Oro Valley
  • BASIS Peoria
  • BASIS Scottsdale
  • BASIS Tucson North

This year’s OECD/PISA results, as you may have read or heard, were phenomenal. Students at BASIS schools once again tested above the highest-ranked school systems in the world – the world – as well as substantially above American students. BASIS also had a higher percentage of students scoring in the highest proficiency levels, in every subject – above Shanghai, the top-ranked school system on earth, and well above the rest of the United States.

This isn’t anything negative that people often say about exams or teaching to tests or that sort of thing (none of which we do, but that’s another blog post). Rather, clearly, this tests students in an ad-lib educational environment: showing what they know, and applying it. You cannot “prepare” for an assessment tool like this; that’s the whole point!

This is a ringing endorsement of what your kids, what our students, are able to do, thinking on their feet. Fantastically cool, eh?


Among the results:

  • All of the eligible BASIS schools outscored such other
    high scoring countries and educational systems as
    Shanghai-China, Singapore, Korea, Finland
    and Switzerland.
  • The average BASIS student performed better than
    the top 10% of students in the U.S. in mathematics.
  • The average BASIS student performed better than
    the top 25% of students in the U.S. in reading.
  • The average BASIS student performed better than
    the top 25% of students in the U.S. in science.


2015 MEAN SCORES – OECD Test for Schools (Based on PISA)
603 – BASIS Schools*
570 – Shanghai (2012 PISA)**
527 – U.S. Private (2012 PISA)
498 – U.S. (2012 PISA)

617 – BASIS Schools*
613 – Shanghai (2012 PISA)**
496 – U.S. Private (2012 PISA)
481 – U.S. (2012 PISA)

607 – BASIS Schools*
580 – Shanghai (2012 PISA)**
519 – U.S. Private (2012 PISA)
497 – U.S. (2012 PISA)

* Average of scores for all six BASIS schools participating.
** The 2015 OECD Test for Schools is benchmarked to the 2012 PISA results.


Our classrooms – as you know – try to give each student an educational uplift, a boost, so that they can indeed “apply their knowledge” just like the OECD/PISA exam assesses. Everything else aside – all of the data and rankings and ways to make sure our students are achieving at the top range of their abilities, as we believe each of them can – we want to deliver an education that lasts, something that students carry with them to their next school, to their colleges and universities, to their internships and jobs and professional development. We have seen that this terrific new tool, the OECD Test for Schools
(based on PISA)
, is a great way to assess our students’ progress, and the mission and
vision that BASIS.ed and each of our schools has for every last one of our students.
Congratulations to all of our students and teachers who participated in this cool tool, whose results on the assessment trumpet to all of BASIS that we continue to get it right.

Please click here for three graphs with data on BASIS students and OECD/PISA.

Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at BASISedBlog@basised.com.