A school that has high academic standards can set your child on a path for success in academics and in life. Early education in a program dedicated to the highest academic standards can set the stage for a positive educational experience. In general, you will find that private schools have higher academic standards than public schools. It is important to understand that the phrase ‘high academic standards’ can be interpreted in different ways. As you look at educational programs for your child, make sure the academic standards – and how they are measured – align with your own beliefs about education.
Definition of ‘high academic standards’
The way that a school defines ‘high academic standards’ will vary from place to place. For example, a public school that puts out high standardized test scores will claim to have high academic standards. Compared to schools with lowers scores this may be true. Are standardized test scores a true measure of learning? Does doing well on standardized tests mean that your child will be successful throughout his or her education and life? Many parents have become disillusioned with the idea of standardized tests because so much emphasis is placed on doing well. Schools feel pressure to keep standardized tests scores high and often end up teaching students how to do well on a particular test instead of focusing on helping them master important concepts. Private schools do not have the pressure of being measured by standardized tests. This means that teachers can spend time focusing on helping students learn deeply without a standardized test hanging over their heads. The standards in a private program can be focused on your child’s learning instead of your child’s performance on a single test. High academic standards should provide your child with learning that goes beyond a test.
How to assess the academic standards of a private program
Private schools have a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing and implementing academic standards. This flexibility also means that the academic standards can vary from program to program. The best way for you to assess the academic standards of a particular program is to take the time to observe a class. During a classroom observation, you can see for yourself how the academic standards are applied at each school on your list.
If high academic standards are a top priority for you, private school is the best option for your child. Take your time to choose a private school that has standards that align with your own. You cannot assume that all private schools adhere to the same academic standards. Start the process by researching the programs online, narrow your list, and then schedule classroom observations for your top contenders.