UAE Schools: A for Academic Performance

UAE schools continue to improve on parent perceptions of whether that are delivering academically for their children, according to the 2018 parent survey.
UAE Schools: A for Academic Performance
By David Westley
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UAE schools have received their highest ever rating from parents when it comes to delivering the academic goods for students, in the latest Parent survey.

Satisfaction levels have been rising, consistently, since we began our survey with 69% of respondents in 2018 saying they are satisfied with the academic performance of their child. That compares to 66% in 2017 and 59% in 2015. 

UK and IB based schools score the highest satisfaction levels when it comes to academic performance (with 75% and 71% of respondents respectively), followed by Indian curriculum schools (61%). US based curriculum schools score the lowest (58%). A sizable 16% of parents with children going to US schools say they are unsatisfied with the academic performance of their child's school.

Abu Dhabi schools do the best when it comes to satisfaction levels regarding academic performance, just a small step ahead of their Dubai peers. Both emirates are operating at a significantly higher level than the majority of those in Sharjah, according to parents responding to our survey.

There is an even more positive story when it comes to UAE schools and their ability to meet the learning needs of individual children. What is most interesting is the sharp jump in the number of parents saying they are "extremely confident" of the ability of their child's school to do this. Up until this year, "Quite confident" had been the answer given with most frequency. 

It is not immediately obvious why there has been such a profound shift, although the KHDA's focus on inclusion, an increasing number of new schools with smaller class sizes, the increasingly prevalent idea that teaching should be child centered, and just greater competition forcing the need for higher levels of quality of delivery, are all potentially driving this change for the better.  The increasing focus on international tests, TIMMS, PISA, and CAT4, the results of which are/should be being shared with parents, could also be helping here.

Standardised tests such as CAT4 are most embedded within UK curriculum schools, which also happen to be driving the improvements in our survey. 

"The Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how they learn and what their academic potential might be. It assesses how students think in areas that are known to make a difference to learning. While many tests focus on a child’s attainment in core subjects, CAT4 is designed to give schools a much broader, more rounded view of each child, their potential and how they learn. Results help teachers decide about the pace of learning that is right for a student and whether additional support or challenge is needed." Source:

Effective communication between the school and parents of this kind of information would clearly be a strong cause of a heightened sense that schools are able to meet the learning needs of individual children.

So how do schools do in terms of communication? Again, increasingly well. Year on year, our survey finds more parents "satisfied" with the level of feedback they receive from their child's school.

69% of parents today are satisfied with the feedback they receive from schools, and another 22% partially satisfied, leaving just 9% saying they are unsatisfied. Again UK and IB schools are a step ahead of Indian and US based schools. Some 70% of parents with children going to UK schools say they are satisfied with the feedback they receive from their child's school (and 91% including those at least partially satisfied), compared to 50% (72% including those partially satisfied) of parents of children going to US schools.

Overall, however the 2018 survey paints a very positive picture of an education system moving in the right direction. There are clearly some schools that need to try harder, but many more are reaching the top of their game, and not only delivering, but effectively communicating that delivery to their key stakeholder - parents.

Note: To see how your school is doing, simply click on the Parent Opinion tab on your school's review. If it is not there, it is because it has yet to receive a sufficient number of completed surveys.

Survey Index
UK Schools Beat US, IB, Indian Schools for Value
Don't Blame Schools for Tighter Family Budgets
Bullying Most Prevalent in Indian, US Schools
UAE Schools: A for Academic Performance
3 in 4 Parents Would Recommend Child's School
Student Churn Tied to Quality, Not Fees, Choice
Happiness, Exam Results Drive School Choice
UAE Schools Better than in Home Country
Over 4/5 UAE Students Look Forward to School
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