Just how trustworthy are international school rankings?
Parents researching the web for good international schools in Switzerland will come across a bewildering array of rankings and ratings by international school advisors.
If you are looking for objective information on schools in Switzerland, you should be aware that many of these self-declared school experts are based outside Switzerland and have never set foot in any of the schools they are rating. Often ratings are solely based on user reviews that are usually not verifiable. In many cases, these recommendations are glorified advertisements, rather than subjective sites.
How objective are they?
Parents are well advised to take these reviews with a pinch of salt and decide for themselves if what they look at are real testimonials by real parents. Keep in mind that even when these reviews are genuine, they reflect subjective experiences rather than representing a selection of quantifiable indicators.
One such advisory website bases its ranking on dubious criteria such as “the aggregated preferences of our users in the last 30 days“. Another site publishes a list of what it calls “Top ranking schools in Switzerland“. It takes a closer look to discover the disclaimer stating “the following list of educational institutions does not represent a ranking“.
Yet another international schools finder boldly claims on its page that its “experts” will tell you about the “Best secondary schools in Switzerland, which annually rank first in TOP-10 TOP-20, TOP-30, TOP-50 and TOP-100 rankings“.
This is bold indeed, as “TOP rankings for secondary schools in Switzerland” simply do not exist!
Rely on local experts!
In conclusion, so-called school rankings in Switzerland lack objectivity, are not based on quantifiable data and are thus not an appropriate method for assessing or comparing quality, nor the basis for informed decision-making.
Parents are best advised to come up with their own set of ‚must-haves’ when it comes to choosing an appropriate school and use these attributes and a local education specialist to guide their search rather than relying on phoney rankings by self-declared international school advisors.
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