Government shortchanges province’s future
to save a few dollars

Halifax – Same province, different year, fewer measures, worse results. AIMS’ 4th Annual Report Card for Atlantic Canadian High Schools shows the early, and negative, impact of the province of New Brunswick shifting focus away from high school performance.

Parents, teachers and students in New Brunswick had become used to a rich set of school achievement and performance measures: provincial exams, teacher assigned grades, moving-on rates and post-secondary performance. Those same people are now left wanting, however, as provincial high school exams have been phased out entirely in the Anglophone system and cut back severely on the Francophone side as a poorly thought-out cost-saving measure.

“These cuts leave a huge gap in our collective understanding of how our schools are doing, says Charles Cirtwill, AIMS vice president. “And what did they save? In 2003-2004 the total expenditures on evaluation including BOTH the Francophone and Anglophone sectors was 1/5 of 1% of the total education budget!”

Continues Cirtwill, “New Brunswick is the only place in Atlantic Canada where measures of school performance are being reduced. Parents, students, teachers and the general public should all be worried about that development. In every other province, since AIMS began publishing its Report Card, governments have supplied new measures of performance. The fact that this cut in performance measures coincides with an overall decline in school results in this report card is something we will be watching carefully in future reports to see if it is an anomaly or a trend. It is noteworthy that in Newfoundland and Labrador, where they have been studiously enriching their school performance measures, that province’s students are performing better and better on national tests.”

The Report Card is published annually in Progress business magazine and a complete copy can be found as a centre insert in this month’s issue. This is the fourth year the magazine has dedicated an edition to the AIMS’ Report Card.

The end of the Anglophone provincial exams and the decimation of the Francophone exams has already had an impact in this Report Card as insufficient data is available for several schools on the last round of examinations, forcing AIMS to leave them out of the final overall rankings for the first time, Moncton High School and Sir James Dunn Academy being just two examples.

Along with reduced reporting, AIMS also sees declining results in New Brunswick. In Francophone NB 47% of the schools achieve a B or better overall grade, that is a 6% decline over last year’s performance. In the Anglophone system that percentage is just 41%, down from 43% a year ago.

This decline is especially disappointing considering the long history and great success New Brunswick has had in collecting and using data. In fact, District Education Council 2 in Moncton is actually profiled as a model of data-driven decision making in this year’s education edition of Progress magazine, which includes the AIMS Report Card. But the tools that organizations like AIMS and DEC 2 have available to them are fewer today than they were just a couple of years ago.

Harvey High School earns the highest grade (B+) among the NB Anglophone schools. Harvey High does particularly well on the contextually adjusted scores, earning an ‘A’. Fredericton High School has the province’s second highest ranking and earns a ‘B’ grade. A number of schools make considerable improvements over the past year. These include Dalhousie Regional High School, Sussex Regional High School, Oromocto High School, John Caldwell School and J.M.A. Armstrong/Salisbury Middle School, all improving from a C+ to a B; and Southern Victoria High School improving from a D to a C.

A number of schools declined in performance over the past year. Notably, Saint John High School fell from a B+ to a B; Cambridge-Narrows School fell from a B+ to a C+; and Sugarloaf Senior High School fell from a ‘B’ to ‘C+’ as did Tantramar Regional High School, Riverview High School and North & South Esk Regional High School.

The top ranked school in the NB francophone system is École Samuel-de-Champlain, in Saint John which earns the only B+ grade in the jurisdiction. École secondaire Népisiguit in Bathurst ranked second in the province earning a B overall and having a particularly strong performance in context. The results were quite stable over the past year, although there is one improvement worth noting: Polyvalente Marie-Esther, improved from a C+ to a B.

While no school in this jurisdiction earned a failing or a D grade, three schools did earn C grades, suggesting some weaknesses that need to be addressed. These three were École Règionale-de-Baie-Sainte-Anne, Polyvalente Clément-Cormier and Centre La fontaine The only schools to drop were Polyvalente Louis-J.-Robichaud which fell from a B to a C+, and Centre La fontaine from a C+ to a C.

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, even those schools that do not receive a final grade.

To read the results for New Brunswick Anglophone schools, click here.
To read the results for New Brunswick Francophone schools, click here


For more information, contact:

Charles Cirtwill, AIMS vice president