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Blog: What makes BASIS schools different

American K-12 education lags far behind almost every other industrial nation in science, reading and math.

According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA 2009), the United States ranked 21st in science, 14th in reading, and 30th in math.

The October issue of The Atlantic reports that “only 1% of American 4th and 12th-graders scored at the Advanced level on national science exams in 2009.”

It goes on show that the in the U.S. only 4% of bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2008 were in the field of Engineering, as opposed to 31% in China.

In Arizona, as across the nation, STEM skills are in demand. A report by Change the Equation, a policy and advocacy organization for better STEM education, stated that there are 1.7 STEM jobs for every unemployed person in Arizona, yet only 8.9 percent of college degrees and certificates are in STEM fields. Less than 15% of students are exposed to advanced mathematics or Chemistry. Less than 32% of math teachers nationwide majored in math. Less than half of science teachers nationwide majored in science.

While policy makers debate the solutions to what ails K-12 American education, BASIS Schools bring international standards home. BASIS has 14 years of educational outcomes and the highest achievement results with campuses ranked among the Top 10 high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and The Washington Post.

With eight campuses in Arizona, and one in Washington, DC, BASIS promises to deliver its global brand of education nationwide. Since it was founded in 1998, BASIS has grown to serve 5,380 students in schools of 600-800 students each. It serves 5th through 12th grades.

BASIS Schools use external benchmarks like the College Board Advanced Placement Program (AP) to measure their achievement against schools world-wide. They achieve an 88% pass rate on AP exams because they push the content down into the middle school. Starting in the 6th grade, all students take nine hours of chemistry, physics and biology a week. For this reason, 8th graders take Algebra II at a minimum to ramp up with the science.

These subjects are taught by teachers who have at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in the subject matter they teach, but 60% of BASIS teachers have a master’s degree or a PhD. BASIS teachers are at BASIS because they are passionate about what they teach and BASIS allows them to teach in a way they were born to teach.

College counseling is serious. It starts at eighth grade. One-hundred percent of BASIS graduates have enrolled in 4-year colleges, most at elite colleges and universities, with heavy scholarship funding.