How to take advantage of the ESSER fund-eligible OECD Test for Schools

Kayleigh Kahlefeldt|July 27, 2021

The US Federal Government support package released to districts and schools via State Education Authorities (SEAs) amounts to a USD126 billion allocation for K-12 institutions. It comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Education Stabilization Fund (ESSER) II, and The American Rescue Plan (ARP) containing ESSER III funding.

While the way districts distribute these funds will vary, they’re to be uniformly applied in addressing students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Helping educators accurately assess these needs is OECD Test for Schools, a world-class assessment which meets every one of these stipulations.

The OECD Test for Schools is enabling schools to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 disruptions on students and learning environments, providing a clear path forward for achieving their goals. You can read more about how the OECD Test for Schools meets the criteria for ESSER funding for your US school in this blog post.

The following checklist can guide schools seeking to use the OECD Test for Schools, with the support of ESSER allocated financial support, to emerge stronger as students return to the classroom.

1. Research your district

Each State Education Authority (SEA), Local Education Authority (LEA) and district has its own approach to applying for, receiving, and distributing ESSER funding, as well as reporting on the outcomes of funded initiatives. Understanding the flow of allocated funds through your district can be useful. Government sites such as the COVID Relief data microsite hosted by the US Department of Education provides an up to the minute view by state.

Action: Check funding allocation to your region.

2. Go on a fact-checking mission

Starting by familiarizing yourself with how the OECD Tests for Schools could help you and your students, including:

  • Understanding the impact of student wellbeing
  • Building your capacity for data-driven school improvements with demonstrable outcomes
  • Identifying opportunities for exchanging best practices among school leaders from other schools, to inform professional development.

Action: Check out some fast facts on OECD Test for Schools.


Empower your school to drive excellence for all students.

The OECD Test for Schools is the only assessment of its kind that brings together hearts and minds. The data driven and actionable insights help schools in the US and across the globe measure their academic performance and learning environment. Learn more.

3. Download a sample report

Download a sample OECD Test for Schools report and familiarize yourself with the breadth and depth of the data you will receive including:

  • Multi-faceted, exploration of your teaching system as a leading indicator of academic outcomes
  • Students’ ability to retrieve and creatively apply knowledge
  • Areas where you can make instructional practice improvements and program changes at a school level

Action: Prepare for your post pandemic strategy by downloading a sample report.


4. Speak to others

Fully understanding your assessment environment and the potential for the OECD Test for Schools to shape the most effective post-COVID strategy for your school might also include speaking with others to:

  • Gauge other the approach other districts and schools are taking to setting the baseline for an improvement strategy via ESSER fund allocation
  • Discover others in your region that you can connect with via OECD Test for Schools
  • Discuss your ideas and understanding with an OECD Test for Schools consultant able to explore opportunities with you, share insights into other districts around the country and set you up for success.

Action: Get in touch with an OECD Test for Schools expert to talk through your ideas

5. Plan for social and emotional recovery

Learning loss is the top targeted issue in ESSER funding, considering the length of time students have been absent from school buildings. However, it’s a good idea to plan for remediation of social and emotional loss too. This important plan should include a focus on equality, concentrating efforts to those unfairly disadvantaged by pandemic conditions such as the homeless, vulnerable and those from low socio-economic communities.

The OECD Test for School’s Global Crises Module was developed to address this requirement. It comprises a student questionnaire, developed by experts, to illuminate differential effects of the COVID-19 crisis on student learning and well-being.

Action: Read more about the Global Crises Module.

6. Reserve the upcoming test window

Book your preferred day to deliver the OECD Test for Schools here.

Learn more about the OECD Test for Schools by requesting a call with a regional consultant, to ensure you’re ready to maximise your ESSER funding.

About the author

Kayleigh Kahlefeldt

Founder, Cornerstone Content

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