Some Natick High School 15-year-old students will be participating in a test next year that administrators hope will help the school see how it compares nationally and internationally.

Natick High School last school year participated in a pilot version of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development test. This school year, it is among more than 130 schools around the country participating in the exam, according to America Achieves, a nonprofit advocating for the test.

Natick students who took the pilot scored above the average United States scores and on par with or better than many international locations.

Superintendent Peter Sanchioni said the exam is more rigorous than the MCAS test and, unlike the SAT and AP tests, provides data on younger high school students.

“It gives a little more information on how well our students are performing internationally,” Sanchioni said, adding students have a global environment in which they will compete.

The test, which covers reading, math and science, emphasizes problem solving and complex skills, said Peter Kannam, co-founder and managing partner of America Achieves.

“It’s not just spitting back facts and knowledge,” Kannam said. “It’s really independent problem solving and critical thinking.”

Test results are not tied to a specific student or teacher. Eighty-five randomly selected 15-year-olds from each participating school take the test, which schools can schedule for a time when there is minimal disruption to class time.

The test costs $8,000 to $11,500 for schools to administer, depending on when they sign up. Financial assistance for schools is also available, Kannam said.

Sanchioni said given the cost it is not something Natick will do every year, but it is important to do from time to time.

Kannam said this test is the first time any school in the United States can participate and compare themselves to countries throughout the world. They hope to have around 300 U.S. high schools involved.

“We feel this is really important so schools can really see how they stack up,” Kannam said.

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By Brian Benson

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