To the best of our knowledge, no controlled studies have been done on these questions, but anecdotal evidence collected from various sources would seem to suggest that Waldorf graduates tend to score toward the high end on standardized examinations such as the Scholastic Aptitude Tests. As far as higher education goes, Waldorf graduates have been accepted as students at, and have graduated from, some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the United States, UK and other countries.*
How well do Waldorf graduates do on standard tests? How well do Waldorf high school graduates do in college?
While requirements within individual schools may vary, as a rule Class Teachers will have both a university degree and teaching certification from a recognized Waldorf teacher education college or institute. Some Waldorf education programs can also grant B.A. and M.A. degrees in conjunction with Waldorf teaching certification. Typically, the course of study for teachers is from two to three years and includes practice teaching in a Waldorf school under the supervision of experienced Waldorf teachers. Teachers must also satisfy whatever state credential and licensing requirements might apply. Rudolf Steiner, speaking in Oxford in 1922, defined “three golden rules” for teachers: “to receive the child in gratitude from the world it comes from; to educate the child with love; and to lead the child into the true freedom which belongs to man.”*
Waldorf schools hesitate to categorize children, particularly in terms such as “slow” or “gifted”. A given child’s weaknesses in one area, whether cognitive, emotional or physical, will usually be balanced by strengths in another area. It is the teacher’s job to try to bring the child’s whole being into balance. A child having difficulty with the material might be given extra help by the teacher or by parents; tutoring might also be arranged. Correspondingly, a child who picked up the material quickly might be given harder problems of the same sort to work on, or might be asked to help a child who was having trouble.*
In the sense of subscribing to the beliefs of a particular religious denomination or sect, no. Waldorf schools, however, tend to be spiritually oriented and are based out of a generally Christian perspective. The historic festivals of Christianity, and of other major religions as well, are observed in the class rooms and in school assemblies. Classes in religious doctrine are not part of the Waldorf curriculum, and children of all religious backgrounds attend Waldorf schools. Spiritual guidance is aimed at awakening the child’s natural reverence for the wonder and beauty of life.*