Halifax – The authors of AIMS Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools are seeing progress. Progress at individual schools and progress in releasing information to the public, but they are also seeing missed opportunities, and lots of them.

Last year we highlighted the significant improvements that have been made in collecting, reporting and using school level information in managing our education system and making things better for students, parents and teachers. We see progress again this year as Nova Scotia now releases teacher assigned grades and attendance data for its high schools. We have also seen the introduction in New Brunswick of individual school level report cards by the provincial government in both the francophone and Anglophone systems.

But lay those two reports side by side and a gaping hole in Anglophone reporting is readily laid bare, the continued failure to reintroduce the provincial level exams in the high school grades. We also continue to see situations where school level data is collected within the system and not shared readily with the public or even used effectively within the system itself.

Examples of this include district level tests or surveys held in house or only reported publicly at the district level (remember, education happens in schools and, indeed, in classrooms, not districts). Such failures to share or coordinate efforts often result in duplication or waste. Schools, for instance, will often attempt to fill in data gaps by fielding school level student, staff and parent surveys, surveys that in other areas are done by the district or the province.

Report Co-author and AIMS executive Vice President Charles Cirtwill highlights a particularly significant example.

“The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission and Statistics Canada have an amazing amount of information about the courses students take at university, how successful they are and even what they do after they graduate,” says Cirtwill. “The information is sitting in a database in Fredericton. School level information could easily be available to the public and the people running our high schools, but it isn’t. The provinces must instruct the Commission to unlock this valuable tool for our teachers. I would argue that the benefits of using this data far outweigh the short term costs”

Cirtwill says more information also needs to be collected on the success or failure of those students who do not finish high school and those who attend community college and private training. What happens to them? Do schools adequately prepare our kids for the future, whether or not that future includes university?

With the seventh report, Cirtwill also sees mixed, but promising, results for our high schools as well. There continues to be movement in both directions, but more schools have seen their grade improve than decline in the past five years. Nova Scotia lead the way with more than twice the number of improving schools than those seeing their grade fall.

Perhaps no school has seen such an improvement as Hants North Rural High School in Kennetcook, Nova Scotia. After receiving a ‘D’ in three consecutive report cards, last year Hants North saw some improvement in certain measures but didn’t receive a final overall grade. This year that improvement continued and Hants North’s final grade has risen to a ‘B-’. While it still sits at about the provincial average, climbing from the bottom to the middle of the pack is no easy feat. Hants North was one of the first schools AIMS visited in our effort to show schools how to use the report card to improve performance.

Additionally, in Nova Scotia alone, Canso Academy, Drumlin Heights Consolidated School in Glenwood, Holy Angels High School in Sydney, Lockview High School in Fall River, and Halifax West High School have all seen their grades improve by three grade levels over the past five reports, showing that big or small, rich or poor, rural or urban, all school are capable of improvement.

While Nova Scotia appears to be leading the way, the other province’s have success stories of their own. Four schools in Newfoundland have seen a steady improvement over the years to move up at least two grade levels, including this year’s top school, J.M. Olds Collegiate in Twillingate. New Brunswick Anglophone and Francophone sectors have had a total of nine schools see an improvement of two grade levels, including Harbour View High School in Saint John, Petitcodiac Regional School, and Ecole Clement Cormier in Bouctouche.

Even Prince Edward Island with its small number of schools has a success story of its own, with Kensington Intermediate-Senior High climbing from a ‘C+’ to a ‘B’ since RC4 to claim the highest grade of all Prince Edward Island schools receiving a final grade.

And even those schools without a final grade due to insufficient data are showing signs of improvement. River Hebert District High School in Nova Scotia, like Hants North, received a ‘D’ overall in RC4 and RC5 – including a ‘D’ in RC5 for how well its students fared in their first year of post-secondary study. Their post-secondary achievement now gets them an ‘A’ – the best post-secondary performance of any school in that province.

To access the complete report card, click here.

To read the abbreviated results for:

Follow this link to AIMS Online Interactive Report Card.

To learn more about the report card, click here.

The report card is published annually in Progress magazine and a complete copy can be found as a centre insert in the latest issue. This is the seventh year the magazine has dedicated an edition to AIMS’ high school report card.


For more information, contact:

Charles Cirtwill, Executive Vice President
902-429-1143 or 902-489-7699

Bobby O’Keefe, Research manager
902-429-1143 or 902-222-0944