CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 45, No. 1

January 10, 2011


State Education Officials Congratulate
School District of Clayton for World-Class Performance

Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro extends congratulations to the School District of Clayton for achieving top scores compared to 70 countries participating in the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Last school year, the district tested all Clayton High School sophomores in reading, mathematics and science. The PISA results indicate that CHS students comparatively finished first in the world in reading, first in the world in science and second in the world in mathematics.

“We salute the Clayton school district for this tremendous achievement,” Nicastro said. “CHS shines as a great example of how Missouri public schools can indeed achieve Top 10, world-class performance with hard work, great leadership and a supportive community.”

PISA is a highly respected standardized assessment that looks at how well students are prepared for life beyond school by measuring young people’s ability to use their knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. In order to participate in the assessment, Clayton formed the equivalent of its own country. The school district is the only one in the nation that chose to participate independently to measure themselves on a global level.

The state of Missouri has not participated in international education assessments for 15 years, but Nicastro believes such measures are needed soon to give schools and communities valid measures of performance.

“National and international measures are important benchmarks to allow schools, states and countries to see where they stand in the world league,” Nicastro said. “Our children will not just be competing for jobs with each other, but with children from all over the country and throughout the world. Better educational outcomes are a strong predictor for student success and future economic growth.”

The assessment, conducted by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is administered to 15-year-olds to enhance the validity of comparing scores across nations. It evaluates the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems in some 70 countries that, together, make up nine-tenths of the world economy.  Four assessments have been conducted since 2000. The test is given every three years and is administered typically to between 4,500 and 10,000 students in each country, including the United States.

Korea and Finland top the latest PISA results, which for the first time tested students’ ability to manage digital information. The next strongest performances were from Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and Japan. The municipality of Shanghai also tops the rankings.

The United States has shown some improvements but remained just average in reading and science, while lagging a bit in mathematics, according to the PISA results.


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