University High School was recently notified its students outperformed students across the globe in the 2015 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Test for Schools. The results show that no country in the world outperformed University High School students in reading, and only China and Singapore reported higher scores in math and science.
The test, which assesses 15-year-olds’ performance in math, science, reading, critical thinking and problem-solving, is administered to students in more than 50 nations. Based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam, the test allows schools to compare themselves to schools in other countries. New PISA results ranking countries’ education systems will be release next month for the first time in three years. Both PISA and OECD help determine how well schools are preparing students to compete internationally.
“What sometimes gets lost in the discussions about our school is just how rigorous our diploma requirements are, perhaps the most demanding in the nation,” said Dr. James Bushman, University High School’s head of school. “When students were told about the testing opportunity they rose to the challenge, because they wanted to be measured against the best in the world.”
“In today’s global economy, educational success must be measured against the best-performing other countries,” said Peter Kannam, managing partner of America Achieves, an education nonprofit that collaborated with the OECD to pilot the OECD Test for Schools in 2012. “This test allows schools to see how they compare to other countries and to learn how to improve their educational outcomes. We have a crucial need for better education for students across the socioeconomic spectrum and can learn how to achieve that from high performing schools and systems nationally and globally.”
The test also compares how local students are doing compared to other U.S. high school students. It found University High School is one of the top 25 U.S. schools of the approximately 450 that participated from coast to coast, scoring high above the national average in math, science and reading.
“Since taking the test and reviewing the results, our school has moved forward with enhanced confidence that we are asking our students to do the right things that will prepare them to compete with the best in the world,” Bushman said.
University High School, a public charter school located on the campus of Fresno State, is a college preparatory school with a focus on music and arts for youth in grades 9-12. Since opening in 2000, the school has received numerous accolades. In recent years it has ranked among the top high schools in California by both U.S. News and World Report and the USC School Performance Dashboard. Students interested in attending can apply in January for admission in fall 2017.