Making performance data publicly available helps schools focus on what is important – the educational outcomes of students. For six years that has been the basis for the AIMS Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools.
The AIMS 6th Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools shows that some provinces have embraced that proven principle to the benefit of their students; others continue to fight the public release of any data.
“We have said from day one, that the more the public knows, the better the schools will get,” explains AIMS Executive Vice President Charles Cirtwill. “An indepth study in 2007 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found a direct link between a country’s achievement on the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) and the publication of performance results at the school level. The performance improvement was significant even when socio-economic and demographic variables were considered.”
On the data side, things are looking up. Newfoundland and Labrador provides the widest sets of measures in the region and this year sees the addition of one more measure – participation in university preparatory courses. This openness is reflected in Newfoundland and Labrador’s slow rise out of the cellar on international tests – it now leads this entire region in student performance.
PEI still does not have provincial examinations at the high school level but it has taken steps to improve assessment and reporting of student achievement elsewhere. In 2006-2007, PEI administered its first set of provincial assessments in Grade 3 and Grade 9. Most importantly, the province also has decided to release the results of these assessments publicly and at the school level meaning that parents, students, and the general public have easy access to this valuable information.
It has been five years since New Brunswick’s Anglophone high schools not only ceased the provincial exams but also stopped collecting and reporting teacher-assigned grades. The challenges caused by a failure to report school level assessment data can not be understated.
“If teacher-assigned grades are going to be the primary assessment tool in New Brunswick high schools,” says Cirtwill. “Then the OECD report tells us that those results should be available to the public.”
Unlike Anglophone high schools, high schools in the New Brunswick Francophone system still have provincial examinations in both math and language arts. Similarly, the Francophone system also collects and reports teacher assigned grades in these subject areas.
Unfortunately, most Nova Scotia parents and students are still in the dark.
“Two years ago Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer ruled that the release of student achievement data was in the public interest,” Cirtwill says. “Yet some school boards still do not publicly report school by school data. What is it that they do not want the public to know?”
AIMS encourages everyone to look beyond the overall rankings to explore the performance of each school across all of the categories. The On-Line report card on the AIMS website (www.AIMS.ca) provides the public with all of the available measures for the 312 high schools in Atlantic Canada. The on-line report card allows users to access individual school data, compare schools, and also compare results based on specific criteria.
Follow this link to AIMS On-Line Report Card.
Follow this link to AIMS 6th Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools.
To access more information and results tables, follow the links below:
- Newfoundland and Labrador school information
- Newfoundland and Labrador results
- Nova Scotia school information
- Nova Scotia school results
- Prince Edward Island school information
- Prince Edward Island results
- New Brunswick school information
- New Brunswick Anglophone results
- New Brunswick Francophone results
The AIMS high school report card is published annually in Progress business magazine and a complete copy can be found as a centre insert in this month’s issue. This is the sixth year the magazine has dedicated an edition to the AIMS Report Card. Follow this link to read this year’s education special.