TRURO – The superintendent of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board (CCRSB) says a report card ranking provincial high schools is biased and “bullying” the local school board.

The sixth annual Atlantic Canadian High Schools report card ranks 65 high schools in the province. Locally, Tatamagouche’s North Colchester High School placed 16th with a B average.

Brookfield’s South Colchester Academy ranked 22nd, with a B- rating, while Truro’s  Cobequid Educational Centre earned 28th place with a B- rating.’

Cape Breton Highland Academy was first with an A- rating. It was the only school in the province to achieve an A.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) conducted the study based on a three-year average including 2003/04, 2004/05, and 2005/06, using outcomes in two categories – achievement and school engagement.

Noel Hurley, CCRSB’s superintendent, says the study is inaccurate. Hurley said AIMS wanted exam marks and teacher assigned grade data for each school. CCRSB did not provide such information, said Hurley, because “of privacy issues” and because he believes provincial grading needs to be updated, with collective assessments.

The report is “not worth anything to be honest,” he told the Truro Daily News.

“It’s an attempt to bully the school board because we didn’t give them more information,” Hurley said. “I’m not interested in wasting money to give marketing studies information … we measure our schools’ achievements and it’s in my annual superintendent’s report. We are not a secretive group, we are very transparent.”

Hurley also took exception to a few of the rankings on the report card, including university participation rates. Although the report took socio-economic statistics into consideration, Hurley believes some low scores are discriminatory against schools. Hurley said it’s not because students are doing poorly, but many don’t go to university immediately after high school because of high tuition rates.

Hurley said, if anything, people should be very pleased with the performance of local students.
“We should be pounding our chests and saying ‘look at how good we are doing.’”

He added a recent Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) study rates school systems throughout the world. Nova Scotian schools were among the top in the world.
“Canada (schools) rated second in the world next to Finland … and Nova Scotia schools ranked 14th or 15th worldwide.”