Does a master list of Tier-1 International Schools actually exist? We tried to find one with no success. This may be because what one teacher finds desirable about a specific school may be of little interest to someone else, thus rendering such a list subjective at best. Take, for example, a school in South America considered to be Tier-1. If I transplanted this school to Switzerland, it would no doubt fall to a Tier-2 or lower in comparison to other schools in the region. For Tier ratings to be valid, an awful lot of variables need to be accounted for.
Here’s another example of the subjectivity of Tier ratings: A school in El Salvador paying $30K offers far better savings potential than a school in Germany paying $60K. This fact is based on the the cost of living in Germany being 3-4 times that of El Salvador. If saving money is a top concern of a teacher assigning a Tier rating to a Salvadorian school, Germany would be far down on their list no mater how cool it is to live in Berlin.
Housing, medical insurance, transport/shipping allowance, number of preps, class size, quality of facilities, safety & interesting things to do outside school are also important when rating a school. But as we’ve seen, because these points are not of equal importance to everyone considering the same school, one person’s Tier-1 assignment can easily become another’s Tier-2 or -3.
When accompanied by an explanation of why a specific Tier was assigned, the Tier-# suddenly becomes a useful piece in our recruiting decision-making puzzle. What Makes an International School a Tier-1 School? is an informative ISR Blog created for sharing school Tier ratings. An outstanding part of the Blog is that many teachers include an explanation for how they arrived at their rating. This Blog first appeared in 2011 and it will be interesting to see new schools added and also how previous ratings may differ today in 2014. The ISR Forum also has an interesting Tier discussion in progress that you’ll want to check in on.