Halifax/Winnipeg – The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) in cooperation with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) today released the broadest set of public information ever presented on Western Canadian high schools.
Based on AIMS successful Report Card for Atlantic Canadian High Schools (now in its eighth year), the Interim Report Card for Western Canada examines the information that’s currently available, what that data looks like, and how it would be used in developing a report card for Western Canadian high schools.
As an interim report, AIMS invites parents, students and teachers to review the information and make comments, particularly if they feel there is information missing that should be included. The object is to provide as much information as possible about what goes on inside our classrooms, so that we can use that information to improve student performance.
“In 2006, an analysis by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) found that making achievement data public at the school level resulted in improved student performance,” explains AIMS Research Manager Bobby O¡¯Keefe. “The schools got better regardless of where they were, the types of families they served or the resources each school had. Rich suburbs or poor inner-city neighbourhoods, remote rural schools or schools serving thousands of kids, they all got better the more they told the public about what was going on. Openness matters, a lot, if we want our kids to be better educated and better equipped to take on the world.”
FCPP Director of Research Mark Milke says the interim report shows the four western provinces have varying viewpoints on the collection, use of, and distribution of school level data.
“Some provinces, like British Columbia and Alberta, are quite open with their data and have the majority of their school level information available on their government websites,” says Milke. “Saskatchewan collects it, but doesn’t make it public ¨C and most amazingly, Manitoba is operating in the dark ages. It does not make school level information public, will not make it public and refuses to release any information that would allow school level comparisons to take place.”
The AIMS Report Card on High Schools is a balanced scorecard approach to assessing school performance. The AIMS methodology looks not just at any one exam or set of exams to judge performance. Instead, AIMS looks at both a range of school achievement measures, including exams, as well as a range of school engagement measures, including attendance and student participation in university preparatory courses.
Additionally, the AIMS Report Card examines these results from two perspectives. First, each measure is evaluated in Absolute terms ?C each school’s performance on each individual measure is compared to the performance of all other schools in the province. Second, each measure is measured In Context of the situation in which the school operates ?C that is, the school’s performance taking into consideration factors that are generally beyond a school’s control, such as the socio-economic status of students.
For more details and links to the AIMS Interim Report Card for Western Canadian High Schools go to www.AIMS.ca/library/InterimWRC.pdf
For more information, contact:
Bobby O’Keefe, AIMS Research Manager
Mark Milke, FCPP Director of Research