A comparison of educational outcomes between public and private school students

Barbara A Wilson, Tennessee State University


The merits of parental choice and competition between public and private schools provided fuel for an extensive debate. Juxtaposing America's public educational system against private, religious, and secular alternatives, there was an alleged difference between the academic outcomes of public school students and private school students in this country. A close examination of the literature revealed that there was the probability of a statistical relationship between the components of an educational program made available to students in public and private schools and the students' academic success. This study investigated the differences between private and public education as it related to students' academic success. Procedures for controlling factors such as socioeconomic status, access to information technology, classroom computer use, teacher preparation, certification and satisfaction, and student teacher ratio were integrated into the data analysis. In response to the research questions that were posed in Chapter I, this study revealed that differences existed between the educational outcomes and experiences of public and private school students. The results did not indicate a meaningful level of superiority in either the private or public sector. There were some characteristics that were inherent factors of the private educational experience that were not necessarily evident in the public school system. The reverse was also the case. Public schools had access to the necessary components to produce successful academic outcomes which was supported by the findings in this research. Therefore, the more important research question was to formulate a universal definition of what comprised academic success and what assessment methodology produced an accurate measurement. Providing an equal educational opportunity includes a variety of factors: funding, equal program access for all students, adequate teaching professionals and administrators, facilities, equipment, books, and other resources across the board. These components are the beginning of making provision for equal educational opportunities. Until the gaping disparities in the acceptable standards of what is equal are closed, providing an equal educational opportunity for public schools will remain at arm's length.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Barbara A Wilson, "A comparison of educational outcomes between public and private school students" (2005). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3167784.