Can a School Ever Really Be All 10s or All 1s?

…  Does any school really deserve all 10s or all 1s on the ISR School Review Rubric? I love my school. But hey! It just does not rate all 10s. In fact, it’s not even all 9s. Personally, I’m suspicious of any Review that displays an over abundance of 9s and 10s. Ditto that for Reviews with scores of all 1s.

Every rose has its thorns (I love that song) and International Schools are no exception. Just because I rate a couple of things a 6 or 7, it doesn’t mean it’s not a simply fantastic school. It just means the reality is this:  There are a few things you’re going to have to live with to be truly blissful here.

Like I said, I’m suspicious of Reviews with copious extremely high or low ratings. Take a school in France for example. I know for a fact the “Cost of living in relation to salary” category will never will be a 10 in overpriced Europe. My research (and every educator I know who has worked in Europe) tells me teachers have to take on an outside job just to make ends meet. The only person I can think of who would assign a 9 or 10 to the “Cost of living in relation to salary” category in a Western European school is an admin trying to attract candidates. Such misrepresentation makes the rest of the ratings look suspicious to me. I discount such Reviews.

Here’s another example of what makes me suspicious:  A school in Mexico City with a “Security rating” of 10 would make me wonder who’s behind the Review. Likewise, a score of 1 for “Community things to do” would be ludicrous for Mexico City with its endless museums, art galleries and cultural events. A low score in this category would render the entire Review useless in my opinion.

Can a school ever really deserve scores of all 10s or all 1s? I believe the answer is NO. Common sense and a bit of logic will help you to read between the lines and look for hidden agendas. When the ratings in certain categories coincide with what you know to be true about an area of the world, this is a signal that it most likely is safe to rely on the Review as a whole. However, if things seem out of sync with your intuition and common sense, most definitely, proceed with caution.

Comments? Please scroll down to contribute to this ISR Discussion





14 thoughts on “Can a School Ever Really Be All 10s or All 1s?

  1. Every school comes with a package of problems or goodies. Change your expectations on items that might be less important to you in an a fantastic location. Usually the quality of students and availability of resources are top of my list. I’ve had fantastic and rubbish housing and that is lower on the list than proximity to the school. The school will not conform to your expectations or change to meet your values. All schools evolve and a big factor is the quality of leadership. A change of head can easily make a once pleasant job really awful as they lumber about removing perceived threats and finding problems that people did not know existed while not addressing those problems people would like attended to.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve worked at schools where I could travel to my heart’s content and live like a prince while easily saving 25-45K per year as a single. It sucks when I look at reviews of those schools and someone has given them all 1’s (including the savings category!!!). Such reviewers appear to be on an emotional tirade and are totally unconcerned about the categories and helping others make an informed decision. They are only interested in one thing…damaging their enemy…even if it means complete dishonesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this is so true. I have unfortunately worked with several vindictive teachers during my career who are lazy, spoilt, unmotivated and just in the job for the money or travel. They spoil is for everyone with their personalized and viciously untruthful reviews.


    2. Do you have any suggestions, then, for how to work around this as someone looking for schools? All 1’s would definitely raise my suspicion, but anything else? Thanks!


  3. No school is entirely a 10. Every school has its pros and cons and teachers respond in different ways to experiences. At my current school, there are two really nasty women who are completely negative about everything and hate the principal purely because she is female and doesn’t put up with their garbage. Needless to say a vindictive review with all 1 ratings appeared on ISR. We all knew who instigated it. Other teachers disagreed and counter-responded. I use ISR reviews as a basis for asking questions if interviewing with a school not judging it on individual perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would have thought that any educator should understand the confusion caused by any grading scheme. I would consider a 10 to be “Top 10% of schools”.


  5. I feel that a school’s ratings are based entirely on the experience of the rater. I personally gave a school all 1’s because it was a horrible experience and people there lived in fear of admin and even the local staff. While unlikely, it is totally possible. Especially if you move 8,500 miles to an apartment filled with vermin and contract dengue fever in a classroom.


    1. Catching dengue fever can hardly be blamed on the school as it’s caught from mosquitos. If you expected not to be bitten by a masquito then you are unrealistic. Also giving all ones to a school is incredibly disrespectful to your colleagues that help make the school what it is. The school I work at is given 1’s across the board in some reviews, which is totally unfair as the salary and benefits are extremely good, this misleads potential new members of staff. Some of the comments that are made are totally justified and deserve a one but having considerable experience of teaching internationally, any reviewer that gives a one across the board is misusing ISR because no school out there deserves 1’s in every category.


  6. I don’t care what anybody says. The school I worked at for 4 years in Taichung, Taiwan was all 10’s and more. Best experience of my life.


  7. Nothing is a 10. Not a single school. 10’s for me are worse than 1s because I know 1’s are probably an axe to grind. 10’s are a cover-up for crappy leadership. At least be smart enough to 9’s a fake good review as an admin.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Doesn’t have to be just an old boy’s network. It can be no different with an all girl’s network or even with diversity at times.


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