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While Most U.S. High Schools Fall in the Middle of the Pack International Test Places Two Arizona High Schools at the Top of the Class

Apr 4 2013 12:00AM



TUCSON, AZ -- (Marketwired) -- 04/04/13 -- Since its founding in 1998, BASIS schools have relentlessly pursued academic excellence in order to become the best schools in the world. Now, a pilot test proves that they are succeeding.

BASIS Tucson North and BASIS Scottsdale were two of 105 U.S. high schools that participated in a pilot program of the OECD Test for Schools (based on the highly respected Program for International Student Assessment or PISA). This test is an internationally benchmarked school-level assessment tool that measures critical thinking skills and how well 15 year-olds can apply their knowledge of reading, math, and science to real-world problems.

An analysis of the pilot program results was released Wednesday in a report "Middle Class or Middle of the Pack?" by America Achieves. The report showed that a large percentage of American middle class high schools have not kept pace with schools from the same socioeconomic backgrounds in countries like Singapore, Finland, Korea, and Germany.

But the report also highlighted high flying U.S. schools. The average 15 year-old BASIS student, for example, outperformed the average U.S. student by nearly three years in reading and science, and four years in math. BASIS students also significantly outperformed the average student from the #1 ranked Shanghai-China, which places BASIS among the best schools in the world. In fact, BASIS Scottsdale was among the top 1% of the world's schools in math and reading.

Each of the schools that participated in the pilot received a lengthy report from the OECD with detailed analysis of the test results as well as student engagement and learning environment factors. At BASIS, 100 percent of students reported that teachers are always available to help them. Teachers and students alike describe the school as a community and a family. With high expectations and strong support, students at the schools flourish.

BASIS Scottsdale Head of School, Hadley Ruggles, says of the report, "BASIS schools have what the OECD has found to be true of the best schools in the world, a blend of accountability and autonomy."

Tucson North Head of School Julia Toews says there is no one magic bullet to BASIS's success: "You have to focus on results. You have to reward teachers for doing well. You have to empower teachers. You have to build a community for the students. There is no aspect that you can leave behind."

Having successfully replicated their model to nine schools in Arizona and Washington, DC, the educators of BASIS view their model of high expectations, great teachers with deep content knowledge, and a collaborative school culture that focuses on accountability as absolutely replicable for other schools aspiring to an internationally competitive standard.

The America Achieves analysis finds that middle class U.S. students were significantly outperformed by their international peers in 24 countries and regions in math, 15 in science, and 10 in reading. America Achieves is challenging all U.S. high schools to find out how they compare with top performing countries in the world and to take action to improve. Individual schools across the country can register to participate and learn how their schools compare to high performing countries at

BASIS.ed is an education management organization committed to transforming American education and elevating academic achievement to internationally competitive levels among all students, regardless of geographic location, economic background, culture or ethnicity. It provides education management services to the schools operated by BASIS School, Inc. and BDC, Inc.

© 2013 BASIS.ed All rights reserved.

Mary Riner
Director of External Relations
Phone: (202) 422-6164

Source: Marketwire

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