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Here is the expensive truth about private schools and student learning

Aug 20, 2018 by

Many parents believe they are ‘purchasing’ a better education for their children by choosing a private school. Are they wrong?

When Australian parents shell out fees to send their children to private schools, they like to think they’re getting many things for their money. So they may be surprised to learn that superior student growth in literacy and numeracy is not one of them.

Conventional wisdom holds that private schools generally perform better than government schools academically. Many parents believe they are “purchasing” a better education for their children by choosing a private school. But new Grattan Institute research suggests the conventional wisdom may be wrong.

Yes, a cursory glance at Naplan achievement test scores (the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) shows students at private schools are, on average, ahead of students at government schools in numeracy and literacy. But Naplan achievement scores at a point in time prove nothing about the standard of teaching in private schools compared to government schools.

Students at private schools in Australia are more advantaged, on average, than their peers at government schools: they have better-educated parents with higher incomes, so it’s no surprise they achieve at higher levels. The past three Pisa reports (the OECD’s international problem-solving test for 15-year-olds, in 2015, 2012 and 2009) all found that once student and school-level socio-economic background are considered, there is little discernible difference between the achievement of private school students and government school students.

Source: Here is the expensive truth about private schools and student learning | Peter Goss and Owain Emslie | Opinion | The Guardian

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