Learning can be fun – Using a ready reckoner – working out compound interest (Photo credit: theirhistory)

I was recently shown this article, about how we measure “School Quality” and the ways it might change in the future. The author brought up some interesting points (What makes one school better than another? Why? Does location matter in determining school success?) that are sure to interest parents and teacher alike. Here are a few ideas I gathered from the article:

  • Though school funding is an important factor in determining a school’s quality, you can’t generalize the quality of all schools in a region based on funding. I live in Arizona, a state with one of the lowest per-student funding levels. Even though my hometown is home to quite a few struggling school districts, it’s also known for two nationally-ranked high schools. It’s true that there might be other differences between the struggling schools and the thriving ones- some are charter, some have different course structures, etc.- but the wide disparity among the number of schools in my city definitely proves that we can’t generalize based on location or funding.
  • Technology is leveling the playing field. As services like Khan Academy and Coursera grow in popularity, the idea that a good education is linked to certain zip codes is certain to decline. These new services allow students in even the most disadvantaged areas to learn and study from home. If we measure school success by student standardized test scores, it’s easy to recognize the enormous power that new technologies could have over schools.
  • Parental Engagement is always a factor. The author writes that parental engagement continues to be essential for student success, “regardless of a child’s socio-economic background or where she goes to school”. Though there are several qualities that may cause us to think one school is better than another- higher test scores, better teachers, nicer facilities, etc.-the roles parents play in their child’s education are often the most important ones.

Do you think that our ideas about what makes successful school-and successful students- are changing? As always, we’d love to hear your ideas!