Academic Performance In Public Vs. Private Schools


People popularly assume private school attendees exceed public school students’ academic performance. Although this statement rings true for an overwhelming majority of countries, there are still unique cases which disapprove this norm. Current literature questions the common belief in the superiority of private education. Researchers still cast doubts on the quality of private schools, terming them overrated, despite the lack of proof to support such claims. If several factors are considered, public schools might be as academically efficient as their private counterparts and can guarantee top quality of education and academic success.


The model of tuition in private schools and public schools also differs with individualized attention being offered to private students (Courtois 49). Public schools have to offer tuition in a manner that accounts for resources available within these schools. They have to customize their resources to fit all the students within the school. Private schools also prioritize small groups tuition to foster cooperation, given the resources availed to them, when contrasted to their public counterparts.

Student-Teacher Ratio

Although public schools can be expected to provide a similar level of quality education, there are undisputable advantages to the personal approach. As indicated by Fleming et al., prior researchers associated private schools with improved learning environments (2). One factor shown to contribute to healthier schooling conditions is the teacher-to-student ratio. Solheim and Opheim claim that “students excel when teachers differentiate material for each student’s zone of proximal development, provide frequent formative feedback, and build close relationships” (1). To optimize the ratio, schools need to either reduce the number of students or increase the number of instructors. As open spots in private schools are limited, class size reduction follows naturally.


Finances usually become the decisive factor when choosing a public or private institution. Paying fees to the school is believed to add specific value to the resulting mass of knowledge, possible connections, and additional opportunities in the future (Courtois 6). On the other hand, a good portion of private institutions still receives public funding, which allows families with lower incomes to count on scholarships and other financial support their high-ability offspring can be granted (Courtois 49). The definition of private schools varies across nations, with some relying on the parents entirely, while others require parents to pay part of the fee only.

Curriculum and Graduation Rates

Private and public schools also differ based on the curriculums used, with those of private schools being more exhaustive. The curriculums of private schools incorporate vital components such as sports and other arts, allowing students to adequately express themselves. Public schools do not have such liberty, owing to their shortage of funds and staff to facilitate such extras (Fleming et al. 16). The graduation rates in private schools also exceed those witnessed in public schools (Fleming et al. 16). There are several theories for this phenomenon with some scholars suggesting that there is inadequate follow-up of students within public institutions. The management of private schools is akin to that of any other business enterprise. The owners strive to ensure they remain competitive in the market, ensuring prosperity for the students.


In conclusion, private and public schooling systems have advantages and drawbacks. Although private schools are usually associated with higher graduation rates and better academic records, public schools can provide as much educational value at a lower cost. However, private schools benefit from reduced classroom size, allowing for personalized tutelage. Nevertheless, if to account for socio-economic and demographic factors, the two types of schooling are neck in neck in academic value.

Works Cited

Fleming, David J, et al. “High School Options and Post-Secondary Student Success: The Catholic School Advantage.” Journal of Catholic Education, vol. 21, no. 2,

Courtois, Aline. Elite Schooling and Social Inequality. Privilege and Power in Ireland’s Top Private Schools. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Solheim, Oddny Judith, and Vibeke Opheim. “Beyond class size reduction: towards more flexible ways of implementing a reduced pupil–teacher ratio.” International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 96, 2019, pp. 146–153., Web.