Halifax – The AIMS 3rd Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools has been released and the grades aren’t much to brag about. Half of the 265 high schools assessed scored a C or C+ and less than 5% ranked an A or A+ grade.
The news is better in Newfoundland & Labrador where 73% of schools have received the same or a better grade than last year, with 49% getting a “B” or better. They are trailed closely by Francophone schools in New Brunswick with 72% getting the same or a better grade and an impressive 53% getting a “B” or better.
Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have only 58% of schools getting the same or better grade this time around, with only 42% of schools in NS and 41% in PEI getting a “B” or better. Anglophone schools in New Brunswick also have fewer “B” or better schools (43%), but do a bit better in terms of improvement, with 69% of schools getting the same or better grade from the year before.
View Newfoundland and Labrador results.
View Nova Scotia results.
View New Brunswick Anglophone results.
View New Brunswick Francophone results.
View Prince Edward Island results.
The results of this year’s report card will be published as an insert in the March issue of Progress magazine along with a sampling of individual school success stories from across the region. To view an online version of the Progress insert, go here.
The report card, co-authored by AIMS vice president Charles Cirtwill and Memorial University of Newfoundland professor Rick Audas, is the third annual comparative analysis of the performance of high schools throughout the region.
AIMS has collected even more data from the provinces, local school districts and universities and colleges for this latest report card. Student retention year over year has been added, expanded provincial exam results have been secured and more post-secondary institutions have supplied achievement results.
In fact, the measures reported have more than doubled this year because this time AIMS is reporting both contextually adjusted results and the absolute comparative performance of each school. Success, both absolute and in the face of significant challenges, is identified and celebrated. It is this identification of how to make schools work in every context that is at the very heart of the Report Card concept.
Cirtwill explains, “Our children deserve the very best education we can give them. However, education happens in individual classrooms and in individual schools, not in some amorphous ‘system’. So until you track and report publicly on the performance of individual schools there is little incentive to change and no evidence on which to base that change.”
In 2001, the Atlantic Provinces ranked 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th out of the ten Canadian provinces on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in reading, math and science. In 2003, only Newfoundland and Labrador has escaped the basement – sitting at either 5th or 6th out of ten depending on the measure – with the other three provinces still holding the last three spots among the provinces.
The relative success of Newfoundland, and the continued frustration in the other provinces, should be considered in the light of some of the changes that have occurred since AIMS’ Report Card on High Schools was first released in 2001.
Since then, Newfoundland and Labrador has introduced a set of comprehensive provincial exams across a broad range of subjects. It has continued to expand the data available about individual schools and school districts in its online K-12 database and it lived up to its commitment (made in the weeks following the release of the first AIMS report card) to release a school-by-school comparison report of key indicators.
In contrast, Nova Scotia has never released the school-by-school comparison promised by its Education Minister in response to the first AIMS report card. Nova Scotia only provides summary level results of the provincial exams now administered in grades 8 and 12.
Similarly, New Brunswick has stepped back. It recently announced a serious downgrading of its testing regime, including the elimination of several exams. This is a blow to Francophone New Brunswick which, up until now, has had one of the best testing structures in the region.
In Prince Edward Island, the prevailing attitude towards educational accountability is exemplified by the fact that the Premier is just now striking a committee to explore why PEI does so poorly on the PISA assessments even though AIMS, and others, have been placing hard data before stakeholders in PEI for many years highlighting this challenge and calling for change.
“AIMS is working to make a difference in this region’s schools,” says AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley. “We are working to build a model of measurable school success — a model that will help us all to work together to provide the best possible education for our children, so they are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy of their future.”
For further information contact:
Charles Cirtwill, Report Card co-author and Vice-President & Director of Operations AIMS 902-425-2494
Brian Lee Crowley, President AIMS, (902) 499-1998
Rick Audas, Report Card Principal Researcher, Assistant Professor – Memorial University of Newfoundland (709) 777-7395