Education Minister Karen Casey released the Minister’s Report to Parents, which covers the 2007 Student Assessment Results.

The Assessments cover three topics, Science, Math and Language Arts.

The Math scores have gained the most attention however.

In the Sept. 16 issue of the Chronicle Herald, three school boards were identified for having “lacked a specific course of action to improve performance.” South Shore Regional School Board was one.

However, board Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake says the information is not accurate.

“South Shore was the fourth highest of the seven boards.”

She says the board has an extensive math strategy in place.

According to the report, the board scored 66 per cent while the provincial average is 67 per cent. Halifax was the top scoring school board with 70 per cent, just four per cent higher.

“We were only off one per cent (the average), which is not even statistically significant,” says Pynch-Worthylake.

Of course they are always striving to do better, she says. “Every one of our schools is involved with school improvements and school accreditation, and we take (the report’s results), along with other results we have, and schools have goals on which they’re working.”

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies has produced the test results for the past six years. Charles Cirtwill, president of AIMS, says that the information shouldn’t be taken at face value.

“Some of the things that are missing here are what’s going on at the schools. What kind of kids are there, how many teachers are there, what are their qualifications,” says Cirtwill. “I always urge parents to use them as a starting point for the conversation, rather then a definitive statement on the school.”

The scores indicate a percentage of students who meet assessment expectations, not an average mark.

In the Queens Co. area, Dr. John C. Wickwire had 60 per cent of 88 students meeting expectations. North Queens Elementary had 63 per cent of 16 meeting expectations. Greenfield Elementary was one of eight schools in the province that scored a perfect mark. All seven students met expectations.

Marsha Freeman, math teacher and vice-principal at Greenfield Elementary says, “Because we’re small, we know our kids really well. One thing that makes it nice in a small school, when you have a child who’s lagging behind or struggling, you have a better opportunity to work with that child.”