UPEI bucks the trend of openness

Halifax – PEI school administrators have opened their books, a little, and released teacher assigned grades, attendance data, class enrolment figures, discipline statistics and postal code data. Unfortunately, as schools on the Island open up, the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) has elected not to provide post-secondary achievement records this year (the only major post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada to fail to do so).

Some of this new information was released in time for the AIMS 4th Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools, released today in Progress magazine. This is the fourth year the magazine has dedicated an edition to the report card. A complete copy can be found as a centre insert in this month’s issue.

The report card this year has an improved measure of socio-economic status (SES) based on the postal codes of students actually attending the various high schools as opposed to a geographic definition of the wider community served. On the engagement side the report includes an assessment of the enrolment in university preparatory courses versus general courses, a measure similar to that used by the province of New Brunswick for several years.

“Additional information helped make up for UPEI’s decision to withdraw,” says AIMS vice president Charles Cirtwill. “Fortunately lots of PEI graduates go to post-secondary schools off the Island. Also, for the first time this year, we have average teacher assigned grades in four areas: math, science, language arts, and humanities.” AIMS has offered to meet with UPEI to discuss the Report Card so that they will resume their participation bringing them back in line with all of their peer institutions from across the region.

However, Cirtwill cautions that the capacity to understand school performance in PEI is still limited by the absence of any standardized exams in the province.

“The commitment of the Premier to common assessments in response to the conclusions of his Task Force on Student Achievement will fill an important gap in current knowledge of school performance in PEI,” Cirtwill says. “Those assessments will help administrators, politicians, teachers, parents, students and the general public focus our collective work to help every Island student excel.”

The AIMS Report Card includes full results for ten PEI high schools. Given the number of new criteria added, it is not surprising that the results have changed somewhat since the last Report Card. The top performing school in the province is Souris Regional High School, having jumped from a C to a B. Colonel Gray Senior High School, Charlottetown Regional High School, Morel Regional High School and Bluefield High School also achieved B grades.

At the other end of the spectrum, we observe a considerable decline in performance from Kinkora Regional High School. The addition of four new achievement measures appears to reveal some weaknesses in the school’s performance and this is consistent across both measures of absolute performance and performance in context. Kensington Intermediate Senior High, Three Oaks Senior High, Westisle Composite High School and Montague Regional High School also earned C+ grades.

Grades are based on a three-year rolling average. If a school does not have at least two years of data for a particular measure, it will not receive a grade for that measure. RC4 is based on data from the school years 2001-02, 2002-03, and 2003-04. All available data is posted on line at www.aims.ca., even those schools that do not receive a final grade.

To view the results for PEI schools, click here.


For more information, contact:

Charles Cirtwill, AIMS vice president

Rick Audas, report co-author

Barbara Pike, AIMS Director of Communications
902-446-3543 – o / 902-452-1172 – cell