Secondary teachers will soon be able to use Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tests to assess the standard of education provided by their school.
The OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey that assesses education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old pupils.
It has subsequently introduced a PISA-based test for schools, which again test 15-year olds' knowledge of reading, maths and science as a means of gauging the standard of education provided by individual schools.
Now the OECD has announced that, as of 2014, schools in England will be able to give these tests to their pupils in order to discern how they compare to the best education systems worldwide, as well as how they are faring compared to similar schools.
Pupils will have around two and a half hours to complete the test and a questionnaire gathering feedback on issues such as how much they enjoy school and the classroom environment.
The PISA assessments also take into account information from school leaders about educational practices in their school, with overall results being confidentially presented to schools so they can see how well they fared without being publically ranked.
Andreas Schleicher, advisor to the OECD secretary-general on education policy, commented: "This new OECD Test will enable individual schools in England for the first time to see where they stand internationally.
"This will help teachers and school leaders understand where to focus their efforts to raise standards and learn from successful school systems in other countries."
Education minister Liz Truss said it is up to secondary schools themselves to decide whether they want to participate in the tests, but described it as "an excellent opportunity" for schools to see how they compare to other schools and education systems internationally.
More than 100 US schools from 22 different states participated in a trial of the PISA school tests in 2012, with participating institutions providing highly positive feedback, particularly with regard to the well rounded picture the tests provided of school and student performance.
Posted by Tim Colman