Generally, private schools aren't required to submit state-level assessment tests. However, many private schools choose to do so. One reason is to provide a benchmark against the scores of students from other schools in the area. Also, assuming the private school students do better on these exams, these scores can be used as a marketing tool by the school. Private schools that choose not to participate in the assessment tests usually do so because they believe that standardized testing violates their values. Many private schools believe firmly that education should be individualized and that standardized tests are fatally flawed.
Both public and private schools are required to participate in National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) testing every four years, but the schools are chosen randomly, and the results are not given to the students. While public schools are required to publish their results of the test, private schools may choose whether or not they do so [source: NAEP].
Of course, when you're looking for a private school for your child, there are other criteria to keep in mind along with testing. Different private schools are going to be right for different students. The starting point to assess whether a private school is right for your child is to clarify what your goals are in sending him or her to a private school. Generally, you want to see evidence that the school does provide a quality education. That's the time to check out those test scores, along with college admission rates for its graduates and which colleges those graduates attended.
If your child has a special talent you want developed or a learning challenge you want addressed, then look more closely at the education and training backgrounds of the teachers. Are they qualified to provide your child with the specific kind of education you want? If student diversity is important to you, ask about that too. In the end, a school has to be a good fit for both you and your child.
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