SAINT JOHN – Kennebecasis Valley High School may be right at the top of the list when it comes to effectively educating students, according to data collected by a public policy think-tank, but that doesn’t mean much to the school’s acting principal.

Peter Atkinson, acting principal of Kennebecasis Valley High School, says he would like to see the AIMS criteria that ranked his school second among 46 N.B. anglophone schools.

“I call into question the whole AIMS report,” Peter Atkinson said.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) released its seventh annual report card on Tuesday with detailed and overall grades for high schools in all four provinces.

Kennebecasis Valley High scored a B and ranks second out of 46 New Brunswick anglophone high schools.

Atkinson, however, calls into question how AIMS gathers and interprets data and what criteria is used to rank schools.

“No one here at the school has been contacted here about the ranking,” Atkinson said.

“I’d like to see the criteria, like the Maclean’s university report, just so we would know how we are scored and where this number comes from.”

KVHS scored a B , just behind Upper Miramichi Regional High School in Boiestown, which ranks first in the province with an A, according to AIMS. KVHS also scored a B last year.

Of the high schools from St. Stephen to Sussex, Sir James Dunn Academy of St. Andrews is fourth on the list with B , up from a B- last year, while Saint John High School remains steady, scoring a B , and is fifth on the list.

Sussex Regional High School, 10th on the list, improved from a B- to a B, as did Rothesay High School, which is number 13.

Former top school Grand Manan Community School dropped to number 16 on the list with a B-, down from last year’s A-, primarily due to a drop in achievement by its students at university and community college, the researchers said.

St. Stephen High School improved from a C to a B-, putting it as number 19, as did St. Malachy’s Memorial High School, making it 21st on the list.

Harbour View High School has improved two grade levels over the past five years, scoring a B- again this year, putting it at number 25 on the list, while Hampton High School dropped slightly, from a B last year to a B- this year, putting it at number 26. Fundy High School in St. George dropped from a B- to a C and is number 33, while Belleisle Regional High School went from a B- to a C and is ranked number 36.

Simonds High School improved a bit, from a C- to a C, and occupies the 41st spot.

On the francophone side, Ecole Samuel-de-Champlain took fifth in the province out of 21 schools ranked, scoring a B, the same as last year.

Charles Cirtwill, AIMS executive vice-president, says the message that this year’s high school report card gives is one of “cautious optimism.”

“It’s easier today than it was seven years ago to ask a question about your school and get real, direct, clear and evidence-based answer,” he said.

“That is a good thing. It helps you stay informed and get involved.”

AIMS research manager Bobby O’Keefe says schools are all showing they’re capable of getting better.

“There continues to be movement both up and down the ranks, but more schools have seen their grade improve than decline over the past five years,” he said.

On the other hand, there’s still much to do, the researchers agree, calling once again for the reintroduction of provincial level exams in anglophone New Brunswick high schools and for the release of additional information.

“The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission puts out annual reports every year with regional, provincial and university-level information in them but those reports do not help your local math teacher identify the fact that their students regularly take and fail calculus at UNB, Dal or Memorial,” he said.

“The data could easily tell us that but no attempt is made to report that information at the high school level.”

It’s not because the MPHEC won’t report it, it’s because they have not been given a mandate to release it.

“This needs to change,” Cirtwill said.

“Only the provinces can make that change. They have to decide to release that information and they have to give that instruction to MPHEC.”