One of the top reasons parents choose a private school education is to give their students an advantage in the competitive college admissions process. While test scores are not the only determining factor, most universities still use them as indicators for admissions, often having a minimum SAT score that prospective students must meet to be considered.
So the question remains: Do private school students have higher SAT scores than public school students? There has been some debate in recent years on this topic, so we've collected the most recent and relevant data to discuss the pros and cons of private school testing practices.
Let's Look at the Numbers
On average, private school students have higher SAT scores than public school students, yet a wider range of scores can be found in public schools. While there are a number of factors at play – most importantly, an individual student's motivation - students are more likely to do better on the SAT in private school than in public school.
Not All Private Schools Are Created Equal
Keep in mind that some private schools produce higher test results than others. Private schools are not monitored by the government in the same way as public schools and therefore are only held accountable for student success by the students, parents, school board, and faculty. Therefore, it's essential that you research each private school before enrolling your child to ensure that it meets your expectations.
How Should We Define Success?
Speaking of expectations, SAT scores are only one of many factors that indicate a student's overall academic success. Parents and teachers should stay mindful that a far more accurate indicator of long-term success in school is how involved a student is in the learning process.
The best school is one where students are excited to learn and engaged in their classes. Therefore, when researching schools, be sure to tour the ones you are considering and follow these tips to make the most of your visit. You may also want to learn a bit about the school's graduates. After all, alumni are real-life examples of a school's impact.
Pre-College Education Is Not Just a Means to an End
Lastly, remember that building a productive, successful member of society means developing academic, emotional, and social intelligence at every stage of a child's development. It means providing them with life experiences that can address the world's problems from global and local perspectives and their own problems with self-awareness and care. Before choosing a private or public school for your child, consider the experiences they will gain from their education as much as their test scores.