BASIS Chandler

BASIS Chandler on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014.

[David Jolkovski/Tribune]

A Chandler charter school has been recognized as being among the best in the world.

BASIS Chandler was one of the four BASIS charter schools selected for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Test for Schools. The school didn’t merely take the test but excelled in it, scoring above Shanghai, the world’s highest-scoring school system, in the areas of reading, math and science. The test was administered in the spring.

The purpose of the test is to allow schools to see where they rank in comparison to other schools internationally. The OECD Test for Schools is based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test.

“The OECD’s PISA program has been regularly evaluating the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems in over 70 countries, which make up nine-tenths of the world economy,” said Tue Halgreen, the project manager for the OECD Test for Schools, in an email. “This assessment reveals wide differences in the educational outcomes of countries and helps us discover what policies work in different education systems.”

The test, Halgreen said, expands schools’ ability to compare themselves by taking a more worldwide view.

“In an increasingly globalized world, it is important for students, parents and local educators to set goals for academic success that goes beyond the national perspective and compares with the best schools in the world,” Halgreen said.

The OECD Test for Schools is taken by 15-year-old students and not only measures their knowledge of a school’s curriculum but also how they apply that knowledge to a particular real-world problem. This is where the head of BASIS Chandler, Stephanie Terrell, believes her schools STEM-style curriculum gives her students a leg up.

She said that in addition to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, the curriculum focuses on critical thinking and problem-solving to make students competitive.

“That’s what makes our curriculum so unique, which is one of our core success stories,” Terrell said.

Another part of BASIS Chandler’s success, Terrell believes, is due to where the school invests its money, especially in a time where school budgets continue to shrink.

Instead of putting its money into state-of-the-art facilities, BASIS Chandler invests in teachers with bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees in their particular field.

“Most of the schools focus on the education of a teacher, we actually prefer to get a teacher who is passionate about a subject and excited, and then we can teach them how to teach,” Terrell said. “That’s how we bridge the gap.”

For more information on BASIS Chandler, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or Follow him on Twitter at @Eric_Smith__.

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