Talk:Tag:amenity=prep school

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Confusion with amenity=school and amenity=college

In various dialects of English, the term "Prep School" can mean 3 different things:

1) a "test prep school" (North American English) which prepares school or university or graduate students to take a particular examination, for example, the test required prior to entering University or Graduate School. See This appears to be the definition used for this wiki page, but this definition does not appear in Oxford or Cambridge dictionaries (UK), or even in Merriam-Webster (US):

2) "Prep school": in the UK, a private primary school for children, especially boys, between the ages of 7 and 13, who will then usually go to "public school" (a type of private secondary school). See

3) "college preparatory school" (American English), a type of secondary school where there students plan to attend University. See

It's not clear if this tag is being used in a consistent way, so I would recommend deprecating and using office=test_prep or amenity=test_prep or similar. --Jeisenbe (talk) 01:30, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

This tag is primarily being used to tag test prep schools and cram schools. This pull request added some major test prep chains to the name-suggestion-index used in iD and other editors, based on existing usage and this wiki page. It's very clear that this tag wasn't being used for British preparatory schools or American college preparatory schools. this commit added a preset to iD so that the name-suggestion-index entry wouldn't result in an unrecognized kind of POI.
At least in the U.S., test prep centers have more in common with private child care centers (amenity=kindergarten or amenity=childcare) than any of the kinds of establishments under office=*. office=tutoring is also being used for some offices of individual tutors for hire. Admittedly the name of amenity=prep_school is unfortunate, and it isn't too late to change it. But amenity=test_prep isn't used anywhere yet. So if you want to move forward with deprecating and replacing this tag with a better named one, please make sure to add the corresponding documentation, keep tools in the loop, and ideally seed OSM with some usage of the new tag; don't just remove references to this page to make it less discoverable.

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 04:02, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

The page needs to be updated to make it clear that this is for "Test Prep Centres" and "Cram Schools". The page said "Tutor school" in the description and "Tutorial schools" as the only text untill today. When using a new tag in an editor, please document the definition fully in a Proposed_feature page.
But, I believe the name-suggestion-index should consider using a different tag: eg amenity=test_prep, amenity=cram_school, office=test_prep, etc. - not "Prep School" which will lead to confusion based on it's common English meaning
Re: "It's very clear that this tag wasn't being used for British preparatory schools or American college preparatory schools." - what is the basis of this statement? I see from taghistory that amenity=prep_school has been used since 2012, and has over 100 uses since 2014, when it was undocumented. The overpass link above shows "Calligraphy School" as the 10th object and "Oita International Preschool" as the 20th; most of the rest are in Chinese characters. Scrolling to the bottom, I see "ECOA SOBRAL - Escola de Cultura, Comunicação, Ofícios e Artes". While "Kumon" is a common brand, without reading Chinese, I'm not able to tell the majority of current usage. --Jeisenbe (talk) 05:52, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
The Overpass query explicitly excludes any feature tagged with brand=*, so it does a decent job of reflecting usage independent of name-suggestion-index. You've pointed out the tag's conflict with British and American usage. As it happens, the only result in the UK is a tutoring center. Just browsing around the results in the U.S., Canada, and other English-speaking countries, almost all of them have names and other details that suggest tutoring or training centers, not college prep high schools or public primary schools. I did find a couple actual schools in the mix: this school in India and this school in the UAE, both of which were added using the "Test Prep / Tutoring School" preset in iD, so it's unlikely that the misnomer in the raw tag name played a role. The preponderance of results come from Taiwan and Japan, where cram schools are abundant. The names of 10% of the results include 補習班, 学習塾, or 予備校, which essentially means "cram school", and the names of other results suggest the same. (I can read some individual Hanzi/kanji characters and compounds by correspondence to Vietnamese, though I don't understand Chinese or Japanese prose.) Meanwhile, "Oita International Preschool" was probably a typo for "preschool".
Regardless of the tag's preexisting usage, I don't dispute that the raw tag name is unfortunate. At the time, I had a need for a tag for these entries, so instead of coining a new tag, I used one that was already in wide use and fit better than any office=* tag. The number of Kumons and other tutoring centers mistagged as amenity=school was probably far higher than the number of high schools mistagged as amenity=prep_school, so I stand by the decision to use that tag ahead of any formal proposal at the time. However, if usage shifts to some other tag or the mapping community reaches a consensus to use another tag, I'm sure name-suggestion-index and iD will switch to it in short order. I don't have the energy to go through the tag proposal process at this time, but if you feel strongly about a particular alternative and would like to formally propose it, I'd be happy to help raise awareness of the issue in the community.
 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 12:00, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Re: " At the time, I had a need for a tag for these entries, so instead of coining a new tag, I used one that was already in wide use and fit better than any office=* tag". That's a prefectly reasonably way to pick a tag, and that's what I do all the time when mapping. However, prior to adding an undocumented or rarely used tag to iD presets or name-suggestion-index, I believe it would be worthwhile to send a message to the Tagging mailing list or another forum where contributors can check for possible problems with the tag value. This may mean waiting an extra week prior to resolving an issue or merging a PR. --Jeisenbe (talk) 14:26, 5 July 2019 (UTC)