St. Peter’s is a dynamic and powerful school. This has been evident in the adaptive capacity we have developed during the crisis of recent months. But this reaction has not been the result of coincidence. For several years, the school has become a flexible and innovative entity, which has taken on important challenges by changing the schedule, renewing syllabus, and carrying out networking activities with other schools, of a certain high quality. During the confinement, there have been plays in Primary, online classes with kindergarten students, virtual scape rooms, the Game Jam, and currently the Blockchain Challenge; in short, creative and ambitious projects in all areas and departments of the school.
This way of working has sometimes made us question whether the “level” or the “results” would be affected. What happened is the opposite. External exams prove us right year after year. This is because behind this changing and disruptive structure there is a team of rigorous teachers, who take education as a continuous process of learning and contextualization.
Next year we will continue with the process of extending the International Baccalaureate, a program that forces us as a school to work deeply on critical thinking and inquiry, which allows us to open the curricular contents to inspiring and current topics, which gives us the framework for finding answers to the challenges of the 21st century: sustainability, the redefining of democratic values and exponentiality.
In this pedagogical paradigm, we have tested ourselves as an institution in different scenarios. The latest has been the PISA tests, which are aimed at obtaining educational information in the field of mathematics, science and reading, as well as the various social needs such as student wellbeing, motivation and various study strategies, providing a comprehensive analysis of the school learning system.
The results obtained by our students are very satisfactory, as they are in the highest standards in the three fields of academic assessment:
1. First, the math test measures students’ ability to use and interpret math in a variety of contexts. Our students scored an average of 535 points, well above the OECD and the best performing countries such as Finland and the United Kingdom.
2. In the sciences, unlike traditional assessments, PISA tests not only measure the mastery of the contents, but the ability of students to think like scientists, that is, the ability to explain phenomena, to design research and interpret data in a timely manner. In this sense, our students have obtained a result of 514 points, which places them above the OECD average and among the first places in the different European countries, near Finland.
3. As for reading, the approach of the tests is aimed at the comprehension, use and involvement of students in written texts to achieve their own goals. This notion goes beyond what is understood as text decoding and the literal interpretation of what is written, towards more applied tasks. In this field, St. Peter’s scored 536 points, significantly above the OECD and European average.
However, beyond the academic results, other evaluated items should be highlighted, such as the school climate or the relationship established between teachers and students. These are two key elements of the learning environment that are positively associated with student engagement. The following graphs show, on the one hand, that students find that the school climate is suitable for developing their learning, and, on the other, that they feel comfortable with their teachers both in terms of help given to them as for the treatment received. Undoubtedly, these two parameters have a positive impact on school wellbeing, one of the main objectives of the school, as we understand that education must be based on intellectual curiosity, but also on respect, affection and interpersonal relationships.
And what good is there in being told all of this? It definitely provides the comfort of knowing that our independent and international educational project is not only interesting but also productive, and ensures that our students can develop the skills and knowledge they need both in personal and academic growth.
We share this information with all of you, because, although PISA is a High School programme, the basics develop from the start, growing from the work of a whole team of enthusiastic, creative, expert and committed teachers.
Congratulations to all of you!