An effective way to identify a high school? Wait until it reviews your child’s test scores
Test scores and homework have been cited as the primary factors in determining intelligence, and many parents and children feel these are the most important ways to ensure their kids are not at an academic disadvantage. But, as a recent study from Duke University, reported by Slate, has revealed, there may be a more accurate and more effective way for parents to figure out what types of schools their children will attend: they should wait to see how well the kids do in school before deciding which high schools they wish to send them to.
“Our research suggests that no matter where you live, you should rate the schools your child will attend through testing and rating them together with the socioeconomic profiles of the parents and whether the school is in your child’s neighborhood,” says David Remsen, an associate professor of psychology at Duke and lead author of the study.
While all three approaches were evaluated by Remsen and his team (which included professors from Harvard and Southern Methodist University), the broad pattern they found was that wealthier children tended to attend higher-performing high schools. And that, they add, their parents also tended to rate them higher in school tests and career fields than their less wealthy counterparts did.
As with most things, however, it seems that the more your kids get a taste of a school, the better they do there. As a result, Remsen and his colleagues suggest that parents whose kids spend some quality time at their parents’ higher-performing high schools should then factor that into their determination as to whether or not to send them to that particular school. “A college visit, at the very least, should show parents a school’s students who excel in tests and have better GPAs than their neighbors,” they write.
But, of course, parents should also feel free to reconsider sending their kids to any specific school, particularly if there are high potential obstacles that a poorer student could meet. The same is true of better grades or a clear college and career path—the decision should always be based on a wide range of factors, and the idea of viewing any one as a more accurate predictor than all the others is not only unsettling, but completely avoidable.