Prince Edward Islanders need to know how the province’s students did in literacy and numeracy assessments, says the head of a task force on student achievement. The government-appointed task force, headed by UPEI dean of arts Richard Kurial, made the original recommendation that the assessments be done. Results of the first assessments, on Grade 3 literacy and Grade 9 numeracy, have been available since June, but the individual student results are only being released to parents this week.

“If we’re falling behind, and the public doesn’t have an idea about that, then where’s the incentive to make it better?” Kurial told CBC News Wednesday.

The province says it will make public the overall results of the assessment within the next few weeks. Kurial said that’s important because education is central to the Island economy.

“We don’t have a lot of natural resources; what we’ve got is potential brainpower,” he said.

The task force recommended against releasing school-by-school results because it was concerned the results would be used to rank schools. Charles Cirtwell of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies would like to see individual school results. AIMS publishes an annual report card on high schools in the region and he said publishing individual results could help schools that are struggling.

“Unless you have a sense of what’s happening in that school versus other schools, you really don’t have the ability to hold the entire system to account and say look, what are they doing at that school that’s so much better than this school?” said Cirtwell.

Two years ago, the Eastern School District conducted assessments of its own. Superintendent Sandy MacDonald said the department is prepared to share those results but until now, no one has asked for them.