Spotting Red Flags: 10 Things to Look for Relying on Educational Reviews

Today, the credibility of virtually any trade depends on online reviews. Whether you are shopping for a product or a service, these reviews have become an indispensable tool for all sorts of business. In fact, 90 percent of shoppers agree that their purchasing decision is influenced by online reviews, according to Marketing Land. A few years ago before social media platforms came into existence; the fortress mentality was how an executive manager handled a difficult situation. In a school setting, it was all about how the head of school dealt with unruly students, handled accusations of child abuse, and hopefully, the matter ended at that. Back then, word of mouth interaction between parents was the only way that news of discontent could get out of the school. Not any longer.  Nowadays, opinions, comments, photos, and reviews which can generate negative or unwanted publicity spread like wildfire (often before the matter is resolved). Parents and caregivers ferret out these educational reviews from the review websites, blogs, and a host of other social media platforms before trusting a child care center with their children. It makes good sense that way. Unfortunately, reading the reviews only leaves you between a rock and a hard place. There is no guarantee that a glowering (or glowing) review is just a fake endorsement or the real deal. Here are surprising facts that underline the problem of fake online reviews:

    • Up to 15 percent of all online reviews are bogus, reports a 2014 Gartner study
    • 31 percent of the US consumers believe that businesses directly ask for online reviews
    • 70% of consumers in the United States have questioned the trustworthiness of reviews across the web

For this reason, it is important for parents to be on the lookout to spot fake reviews. In this article, we discuss ten things to look for when relying on educational reviews.

  1.    The School Replies

When choosing a school or educational aid program for your kid, it’s important that you do your homework thoroughly and be extra vigilant. Reading through the school’s response to both negative and positive reviews is one of the best ways to get a clear picture of the learning center you wish to entrust with your kid. If the school does not respond at all or promise to take action, it’s time to take your search elsewhere.  Nevertheless, if the school responds actively, honestly and openly, this manifests their willingness to admit to their mistakes, seek address to the raised concerns and rectify the problem.

For example, Justin Craig Education is a United Kingdom leader in GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Revision Courses and tuition. With over 35 years of experience, their tutors are committed to providing the highest quality education and customer service to their parents and students. One way they keep up on their relationships with their clients is by having a presence on their eKomi Certificate page, and responding promptly to their reviewers.

  1.    Pay Attention to Teachers and Staff Reviews

Teachers and staff are the public face of a school. Therefore, while looking for genuine educational reviews, it’s a good idea to check out what current and former employees have said about the specific learning center.  Read through their complaints, reviews, and of course what the school has to say about it. This will give you a quick inside look at the school’s learning culture, management, turnover of employees and et cetera. If you discover a specific problem that has prevailed for quite some, this could be a telltale sign that the school may not be the right fit for your child at the moment.

  1.    Be Sure To Read Parent Reviews

When looking for a child care provider for your kid, a recommendation from another parent or family can also come in handy. Too often, it’s a common practice for a satisfied parent to post a positive review of the learning center. Nonetheless, if the center is horrible, unsanitary or abusive, a parent will not hesitate to express their displeasure. Reading through parents’ reviews will give you first-hand information on what your kids are bound to experience in the learning center.

  1.    Check out How a School Manages Crises and Emergencies

It’s normal for a school to experience unexpected crises and incidents. How the learning center handles these situations determine how the current and prospective parents perceive them. Ideally, the school should always be prepared to deal with virtually any crisis. Sending kids to the learning center or withdrawing them depends on their action. For example, if a school suffered an upsetting incident such as a fatal road accident or suicide, they are expected to show efforts to get ahead of the maelstrom which followed. Therefore, if the school provided counseling resources and gave the community facts first hand through a detailed response -that shows that their students are their first responsibility.

  1.    Look for Trust-Boosting Characteristics

Reviews are all over the internet and are equally valuable for any business. A private school is a business. Consequently, any reputable learning center should ensure there’s a specially developed review collection and management software to capture and display feedback from the community. The system should be an innovative, easy-to-implement SaaS solution. It should only collect genuine, verified reviews, publish them online and syndicate them to all major search engines. A school with such systems in place will show its willingness to build trusting relationships with their parents and boost their confidence in leaving their kids with them every time.

  1.    Check Information about the Reviewer

Check out the profile of the person providing the review. You can typically do this by clicking the reviewer’s name. If you spot a user with no social connections, no profile information and has only posted a small number of reviews, high chances are the review you’re looking at is concocted.

  1.    Listen to the Language and Brevity of a Review

False reviews often tend to use more extreme language to get their message across. Therefore, as a parent who wishes to rely on educational reviews to make a decision, beware of extremes. Overly negative, enthusiastic or short reviews are red flags.

  1.    Consider the Language Choice

Under normal circumstances, it’s expected that reviews for a US-based business to be written by native English speakers. So, if you spot some weird language with punctuation and spelling mistakes, this could indicate that the review is not genuine – written by someone halfway around the world.

  1.    Bunches of Positive Reviews

For some schools that just started, they tend to hire a legion of paid reviewers to flood their websites with glowing reviews. Thus, if you spot a large number of positive reviews posted at almost the same time on various review websites, this can be a reason to doubt the learning center.

  1.    Finally, Trust Your Judgment

As a parent, don’t assume that the educational reviews you’re reading come from a well-intentioned member of the school community. As a helpful rule of thumb, trust your judgment and approach everything with a healthy sense of skepticism.

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