In Brief: The AIMS 6th Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools made news around the region. This story in the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal picks up on the Institute’s criticism for the lack of standardized testing in anglophone high schools in the province. 

MONCTON – A public policy think-tank is criticizing New Brunswick’s lack of educational data in its latest report card on Atlantic Canadian high schools.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies released its sixth annual report card Thursday in Moncton, with detailed and overall grades for high schools in all four provinces. AIMS also took aim at policy issues, targeting the elimination of provincial exams in New Brunswick’s anglophone schools, and the absence of collecting and reporting teacher-assigned grades.

AIMS Executive Vice President Charles Cirtwill said a recent in-depth study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found a direct link between the publication of performance results and achievement on the Programme of International Student Assessment.

Yet, New Brunswick’s anglophone schools dropped provincial exams five years ago, and stopped collecting and releasing other high school assessment data.

“They’ve gone in the wrong direction,” said Cirtwill.

“If teacher-assigned grades are going to be the primary assessment tool in New Brunswick high schools, then the OECD report tells us that those results should be available to the public.” said Cirtwill. “There’s all this anxiety around the performance of anglophone schools, yet they’re going backwards in the recipe for successful schools.”

Cirtwill said the francophone side has been able to expand early literacy and numeracy assessments while retaining core high school assessments. And Nova Scotia, which has assessments at all levels, consistently performs better on national and international assessments despite under-spending New Brunswick, he said.

Education Minister Kelly Lamrock acknowledged the problem, pointing to budget cuts under the previous Conservative government.

“That is a decision we would do differently,” said Lamrock. “We believe that if you aren’t evaluating how kids are progressing, if you are not checking in on which schools and which teachers and which methods are most effective, then kids are going to lose out.”

While Lamrock said he has “some methodological disputes” with the AIMS report card, he said bringing back evaluations is a possibility.

“Restoring the evaluations is one way of many that we can move forward,” he said. “There are times I think evaluations are important and I think AIMS has done a huge service to the public in reminding us of the importance of having clear goals and measuring them well.”

Grand Manan Community School and École Marie-Gaétane of Kedgwick had the best individual grades in the province, bringing home two of the three A- scores in the entire report.

Other anglophone schools performing well included Kennebecasis Valley, Fredericton, Saint John, Miramichi Valley, Tobique Valley of Plaster Rock, Petitcodiac Regional, Hampton and Blackville, all at B .

Fredericton’s École Sainte-Anne and St-Quentin’s Polyvalente A.-J.-Savoie both posted grades of B-.

At the other end of the spectrum, Minto Memorial got the only F in Atlantic Canada, while Harvey, Simonds and Hillsborough’s Caledonia Regional received C- grades.

École Régionale de Baie-Sainte-Anne was the worst on the francophone side with a C-, followed by École Mgr-Marcel-François-Richard of St-Louis-de-Kent.

Several schools contacted by the Telegraph-Journal declined to comment on the results.