If you think a private school delivers students better marks, think again.
With this year’s HSC results two days away, HSC experts Matrix Education have released a study showing public schools outperforming their private rivals when comparing students from similar backgrounds.
Researchers Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd revealed that schools with the highest scoring HSC marks in 2013 were public schools whose students were from families with higher social and educational backgrounds.
In addition, the study showed that social class is a far stronger indicator of how a school will rank than the quality of teaching.
Dr Helen Proctor, an education researcher from the University of Sydney, said that when it comes to private education, it’s not always about getting good marks.
"If you're just looking at academic results, it probably isn't worth paying all that money for an elite private school.” Dr Proctor said.
Interestingly, getting their children better marks wasn’t the biggest motivation for parents who enrolled their children in expensive private schools, Dr Proctor explained.
"They say they're looking for an all-rounded experience, so they're looking for a peer group and opportunities to use all those fabulous resources and facilities."
Retired public school principal and researcher Chris Bonner said that parents should remember that a top ranked school doesn’t always mean a top ranked education.
"Schools in that top 100 that dine out on the stories of their high achievers need to take a cold shower and reflect carefully on the claims they're making," said Bonner.
"The heads of the schools that do really well almost always attribute their success to something the school is doing, but we don't know how much difference is being made by schools. The substantial contribution to their success is the capacity and background of the kids they enrol."
More than 76,000 NSW students will learn their Higher School Certificate results on Wednesday and Australian Tertiary Admission Rank the day after.