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If Universities are ranked globally, then why aren't International Schools?

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

Universities educate within their cultural context and yet are bound together under a global ranking system. This enables students, educators and parents to have an accurate understanding of the education being offered - essential for a truly enriching global education. Similarly, given the costs for parents to send their children to International Schools it can be argued they too need a global ranking system.


We live in an evidence-based world. This is not only true for academics/researchers but for all educators. Any gathering of data must be valid and reliable/ credible and trustworthy. Parents in International Schools want evidence - not lip service. How do you become renowned as one of the best schools in the world? What are the criteria and what evidence do you have?

What is important when it comes to a quality education?

In Higher Education universities are ranked by criteria relating to teaching, research and service. The Times Higher Education criteria includes teaching, research, knowledge and international outlook. QS World University Rankings by Subject components include academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, H-index (research) and international research network.

Universities are judged based on five more performance indicators this year, which brings the criteria to a total of 18.

The indicators are categorised into five main groups, which underpins each ranking.

Here's a breakdown of the groupings where each element contributes to the final score to varying degrees:


  • Teaching reputation

  • Student–staff ratio

  • Doctorate–bachelor ratio

  • Institutional income

Research environment

  • Research reputation

  • Research income

  • Research productivity

Research quality

  • Citation Impact

  • Research strength

  • Research excellence

  • Research influence


  • Industry income

  • Patents

International outlook

  • International students

  • International staff

  • International co-authorship

Over 60,000 survey responses from scholars all around the world and over 134 million citations across 16.5 million research publications were analysed to determine the score.

What would this look like in International Schools?

Teaching, research, knowledge and international outlook could also be used as a framework for ranking International Schools globally. Hence, having qualified teachers and school leaders who can clearly evidence that they are life-long learners and able to implement evidence-based research would be a necessity.

Ranking according to children's wellbeing
Ranking international schools


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