Full course description

Course Date:



7 modules


1-2 hrs/week



Course Type:





This course will take a deep dive into OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It will explore how the United States performs relative to other countries and the shared education trends of top performing countries. Participants will gain insight into the implications of these results on U.S. education. The course will also explore the OECD Test for Schools (PISA), which allows individual schools to compare themselves to the highest performing schools around the world. With these results, education leaders and teachers can identify the actions required to prepare all students to succeed in today’s global economy. 

Technology Requirements:

You can access the course content via a computer, laptop, and/or mobile devices (e.g., iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, etc.). For mobile devices, go to the apps store (Apple or Android) to download Canvas apps.

This course was developed in collaboration with America Achieves. Editorial contributions were provided by OECD.


Upon course completion, participants will:

  • Understand what PISA is and how the U.S. ranks in comparison to other countries.
  • Identify specific ways in which PISA data can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. education system and support policy actions designed to improve student outcomes.
  • Explore the OECD Test for Schools (based on PISA) and how the results can be used by schools, districts, and charter systems to improve teaching and learning


Dr. Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, MA
Dr. Mitchell Chester began serving as Commissioner of the Massachusetts public schools in May 2008. Dr. Chester began his career as an elementary school teacher in Connecticut, and later served as a middle school assistant principal and district curriculum coordinator. From there he moved to the Connecticut State Department of Education where he oversaw curriculum and instructional programs. In 1997 he was named the Executive Director for Accountability and Assessment for Philadelphia, where he headed the offices of Assessment, Research and Evaluation, Student and School Progress, and Pupil Information Services. In 2001 he moved to Ohio, where he served as the Senior Associate Superintendent for Policy and Accountability for the Ohio Department of Education, where he oversaw standards, assessments, accountability, policy development, and strategic planning. Dr. Chester has presented nationally on accountability, assessment, and teacher induction and retention. He has served as a consultant to states and school districts regarding curriculum and instruction, teacher evaluation, student achievement, and assessment and accountability.

Dr. Jack D. Dale, Former Superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Dr. Dale served as superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, the eleventh largest school system in the United States, from July 2004 to July 2013. Preceding his time at Fairfax County Public Schools, Dr. Dale served as the superintendent to Frederick County Public Schools (MD) for eight years, during which he was named Maryland’s superintendent of the year. He has also worked as a math teacher, assistant principal, director of instruction, director of personnel, and associate superintendent of school administration. Dr. Dale is active in a number of professional associations, including the Washington Area School Superintendent’s Study Council, American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the National School Board Association, and AASA’s Large Countrywide and Suburban District Consortium. In addition to his educational leadership, Dr. Dale is co-editor and author of the book Creating Successful School Systems.

Dr. Patricia F. Deklotz, Superintendent, Kettle Moraine School District, WI
Dr. Patricia Deklotz has been superintendent of the Kettle Moraine School District, a high performing K-12 district serving 4,200 students located in southeastern Wisconsin, since 2006. Under her leadership the district has embraced the Board's challenge to transform schools to better and more efficiently meet the needs of all students. Currently she serves on the State's Coordinating Council for Educator Effectiveness, the Waukesha County Technical College Board, GPS Education Partners board, the President's Advisory Council for Carroll University, chair of the Southeast Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness Consortium, chair of the Cooperative Service Agency #1 Superintendent's PAC, and co-chair of Southeast Wisconsin Schools Alliance.

Dr. Renee A. Foose, Superintendent, Howard County Public School System, MD
Dr. Renee A. Foose became the first female Superintendent of the Howard County Public School System in July 2012. She was unanimously selected by the Howard County Board of Education to lead the school district with more than 53,000 students and 8,100 employees. Before joining the HCPSS, Dr. Foose served in various leadership roles in both Baltimore and Montgomery counties including deputy superintendent, associate superintendent, director of school performance, principal, and assistant principal. She began her career as a high school science teacher. A frequent speaker and contributor to the national educational dialogue, Dr. Foose has been the recipient of numerous awards. Recently, she was named both a Maryland Innovator of the Year and Most Admired CEO, and listed among the area’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record; designated one of “50 Women to Watch” by The Baltimore Sun; and earned the Brava! award from SmartCEO.

Dr. Deborah A. Gist, Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools, OK
Dr. Deborah A. Gist is the Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. Prior to returning home to lead Tulsa Public Schools, Dr. Gist served as commissioner of education for the State of Rhode Island where student achievement reached historical highs, and graduation rates increased significantly. Before serving as Rhode Island commissioner, Dr. Gist was the first State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia. She became a teacher 27 years ago in Fort Worth and considers her eight years in the classroom the most important part of her career in education. Dr. Gist also taught in Tampa, where she conceived, designed, and initiated a literacy program serving families in 108 elementary schools in Hillsborough County, Florida. She later served as a senior policy advisor at the US Department of Education. Deborah sits on the advisory board of the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, and she is a founding member of Chiefs for Change. Deborah is also a member of the National Advisory Committee on Ending Chronic Absence for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and an advisory board member for the National Center for Research on Gifted Education.

Eric Grunden, Chief School Officer and Founder, Research Triangle High School, NC
Eric Grunden began his teaching career at the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, the University of Florida’s educational laboratory school. He taught chemistry and physics at Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Georgia before joining the faculty at Raleigh Charter High School in 2000, where he was the science department chair and taught Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Astronomy. He was a board member and Education Director of the Contemporary Science Center (CSC) and developed several of the field studies. He has published several articles in practitioner journals and regularly presents at state and national conferences. In 2010 he was named by the Research Triangle Park chapter of Sigma Xi as Outstanding High School Science Teacher and was a recipient of the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

Dr. Eric Hanushek, Senior Fellow in Education, The Hoover Institution
Dr. Eric Hanushek is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He is a leader in the development of economic analysis of educational issues. He has authored numerous, highly cited studies on the effects of class size reduction, high stakes accountability, the assessment of teacher quality, and other education related topics. He introduced the idea of measuring teacher quality through the growth in student achievement that forms the basis for the development of value-added measures for teachers and schools. Most recently, Dr. Hanushek shows that the quality of education is closely related to national economic growth. He has authored or edited twenty-three books along with over 200 articles. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and completed his Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Joseph Hurley, Principal, Barrington High School, RI
Joseph Hurley is the principal of Barrington High School. Before coming to Barrington in 1999, Mr. Hurley worked for nineteen years as a teacher and administrator for the Taunton Public School Department in Taunton, MA. Mr. Hurley has a B.S. degree from the University of Rhode Island, an M.Ed. in Health Education from Rhode Island College, and a M.Ed. in secondary school administration from Providence College. Mr. Hurley has been selected to represent Rhode Island as a commission member for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). He has also serves on the Global Learning Network’s Leadership Council.

Rehva Jones, Senior Director of the Global Learning Network, America Achieves
Rehva Jones is a Senior Director for America Achieves, leading and growing the Global Learning Network. The Global Learning Network is a professional learning community of state, district, and school educators using the results from the OECD Test for Schools to drive school improvement. Rehva has broad based expertise in organizational development, data-driven performance, and evaluation. Remaining passionate about the importance of equity in higher education, Rehva continues to support first-generation college students as a faculty member of the Trinity Washington University teaching undergraduate and graduate business related courses as well as the University of the District of Columbia's Community College providing instruction in foundational mathematics courses. Rehva received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Organizational Management from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY and a Masters of Business Administration from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD
Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. As a key member of the OECD Senior Management team, Mr. Schleicher supports the Secretary-General’s strategy to produce analysis and policy advice that advances economic growth and social progress. He promotes the work of the Directorate for Education and Skills on a global stage and fosters co-operation both within and outside the OECD. In addition to policy and country reviews, the work of the Directorate includes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems (INES). Before joining the OECD, Mr. Schleicher was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement.”

Jon Schnur, Executive Chairman, America Achieves
Jon Schnur is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of America Achieves. Jon also co-founded New Leaders for New Schools, a national non-profit organization ensuring high academic achievement for every student. He also advises philanthropists seeking to improve education, including Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Jon served as a senior advisor to President Obama’s presidential transition team and to U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan. He has also served as President Clinton’s White House Associate Director for Educational Policy, Senior Policy Advisor on Education to Vice President Gore, and special assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Dick Riley.

Lisa Wilson, Director of Assessment & Research, Blue Valley School District, KS
Lisa Wilson has served in public education for twenty-seven years as a junior high and high school English teacher, lead teacher, Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction, and currently as the Director of Assessment and Research for Blue Valley School District, a public district in Overland Park, Kansas. Lisa holds a Bachelor's degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, a Master's Degree in Education from Mid America Nazarene University, and completed her administrative licensure at Baker University. She also teaches a curriculum and instruction class for administrators at Baker University. Lisa obtained her National Board Certification in English is 1999 and was selected as the Blue Valley School District Teacher of the Year in 2002. Lisa has a passion for curriculum, instruction, and assessment; her early work in her own classroom with both curriculum mapping and formative assessments as instructional tools has led her to her current role as a leader of assessment in her district. She has administered the OECD Test for Schools as both a high school administrator and as a district test coordinator and has worked extensively with the data with administrators, staff, and community.

Course Instructors

Dr. Chester

Dr. Mitchell Chester

Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, MA

Dr. Jack D. Dale

Dr. Jack D. Dale

Former Superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Dr. Patricia F. Deklotz

Dr. Patricia F. Deklotz

Superintendent, Kettle Moraine School District, WI

Dr. Renee A. Foose

Dr. Renee A. Foose

Superintendent, Howard County Public School System, MD

Deborah Gist

Dr. Deborah A. Gist

Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools, OK

Eric Grunden

Eric Grunden

Chief School Officer and Founder, Research Triangle High School, NC

Dr. Eric Hanushek

Dr. Eric Hanushek

Senior Fellow in Education, The Hoover Institution

Joseph Hurley

Joseph Hurley

Principal, Barrington High School, RI

Rehva Jones

Rehva Jones

Senior Director of the Global Learning Network, America Achieves

Andreas Schleicher

Andreas Schleicher

Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD

Jon Schnur

Jon Schnur

Executive Chairman, America Achieves

Lisa Wilson

Lisa Wilson

Director of Assessment & Research, Blue Valley School District, KS

Editorial contributions provided by OECD