Saskatchewan Transparent, Manitoba Opaque on High School Performance
Halifax/Winnipeg: The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy are releasing the first ever Report Card on Western Canadian High Schools. The report card ranks high schools from Manitoba and Saskatchewan based on the AIMS model, which has been used in Atlantic Canada for almost a decade.
The most striking discovery is the near total refusal of the province of Manitoba to make performance data available. By contrast, data disclosed by the province of Saskatchewan allow parents to compare the average level of student engagement and achievement at each high school in the province.
“Engagement” measures attendance, graduation, and participation in post-secondary education. “Achievement” measures school marks and provincial exam results. These data are presented once as raw scores and again with adjustments made for the class sizes, socio-economic status, entrance test scores for each school. The report card looks at school performance in the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08 school years.
The Report card can be downloaded from the following links, which lead to the AIMS website:
Click here for an introduction to the report methodology.
Click here for access to Manitoba’s complete Report Card.*
Click here for access to Saskatchewan’s complete Report Card.*
As a result of the province’s refusal to make more comprehensive data available, Manitoba’s Report Card includes only the moving on rates for grades 10, 11 and 12, and attendance rates for a minority of schools.
The lack of publicly available school level performance data is in stark contrast to every other province in the country says Peter Holle, President of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. ”Manitoba’s Department of Education lacks the transparency and openness required to inform parents, teachers, and taxpayers about how their schools are doing”, says Holle, “and it is regrettable that the Department did not show any willingness over the course of this project to increase the amount of information made available to the public.”
In Atlantic Canada, every province now reports more information than they did when AIMS started releasing its High School Report Cards. The AIMS/FCPP Report Cards on Western Canadian High Schools are expected to improve over time as more data is released by the school system.
“We hope that community concerns will prompt Manitoba’s Department of Education to make the information more publicly accessible in future,” says Charles Cirtwill, President of AIMS. “Our education systems can only improve when the public has more and better information to engage in the conversation.”
The highest ranked school in Saskatchewan was the Englefield School – a small school in a rural area, and its students are from areas with below average wealth compared to the rest of the province.
Schools demonstrating serious deficiencies in one area are not necessarily poorly ranked overall. Central Butte School received a ranking of 121/200 on Math provincial exams, but ranked 6th overall due to excellent performance in other areas.
“AIMS has worked with all education stakeholders in Atlantic Canada for nearly a decade successfully to create Report Cards that help parents, teachers and schools improve the education in their neighbourhoods,” says Charles Cirtwill, President and CEO of AIMS. “We work to incorporate the information the education establishment makes public, and seek to increase the amount of information made available. The public needs information before they can participate effectively in education improvement. We are pleased to partner with Frontier to bring the Report Card to the Prairies.”
“We openly invite parents, teachers and anyone else to suggest any additions that can be made to improve our Report Cards,” says Peter Holle, President of the Frontier Centre. “Our education systems can only improve when the public has more and better information with which to engage in the conversation.”
*These documents are designed to be viewed in Adobe Acrobat as you would view a booklet (two pages across). If the document does not automatically appear this way on your screen select the ‘View’ option in the tool bar, scroll to ‘Page Display’ and select ‘Two-Up’
For more information, please contact:
Frontier Centre for Public Policy
Dr. Rick Audas
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies