TRURO – Two of Colchester County’s three high schools saw their academic rankings fall last year, according to the annual report card produced by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS).

North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche was the only local school that saw its ranking improve – to 12th place this year from the 16th spot last year. The school’s overall grade remained the same with a B.

Cobequid Educational Centre (CEC) in Truro fell to 47th place (from 28th last year) out of the 55 Nova Scotia schools ranked in the seventh annual report. Its grade also dropped to a C+ from last year’s B-.

The ranking for South Colchester Academy in Brookfield also fell to the 44th spot after placing 22nd last year. And that school’s grade dropped to C+ from last year’s B-.

Cape Breton Highlands Academy came out on top for the second straight year with an A-.
Noel Hurley, superintendent with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, said he had not yet had a chance to do an “indepth analysis” of the report, which was released Tuesday morning.

However, while the posted grades suggest there is room for improvement in the board’s high schools, a factor he agrees with, parents do not have cause for concern.

“It’s fair to say we’re not satisfied. We’re never satisfied with what our schools are doing. We are always working to do better,” he said.

But Hurley added the board is “very satisfied with the job our teachers are doing ….” and parents have no cause to be alarmed.

“Their students (children) are learning well and they’re learning effectively in our schools,” he said. “We’ve got an excellent education system here, that’s the message I’d like to get out. And I can show data (from national and international levels) to anybody who wants to see it.”

The latest AIMS report is based on a three-year average including the school years of 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 using outcomes in two categories – academic achievement and school engagement.

Schools that did not provide complete data were not given a final overall grade. This year, 55 schools were graded compared to 65 last year.

Hurley said the way the results are compiled, he believes some of the Chignecto-Central schools did not grade as well as they could have, because of attendance figures. Attendance in the board’s schools are done on a class-by-class basis, he said, while some schools take attendance only at the beginning of the day. But even so, that doesn’t mean things cannot get better, Hurley said.

“We know from school attendance that we want to improve, so it’s confirming what we already know,” he said, adding, however, that the report does not tell the entire story.

“We’re more interested in the assessments we get on a school-by-school basis.”