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Grading Quebec’s secondary schools

Montreal, October 27, 2000 – The Fraser Institute and the Montreal Economic Institute today released the first annual Report Card on Quebec’s Secondary Schools, the only independent measurement of the province’s largest 476 public and private, French and English, secondary schools.

“By providing a concise objective overview of each school’s academic performance, the Report Card provides a benchmark against which schools can improve. It is also a much-needed tool that parents and students can use to make a more informed choice of an education provider,” says Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at The Fraser Institute, and co-author of the Report Card.

The foundation of the Report Card is an overall rating of each school’s academic performance on a scale from zero to ten. This rating is based on the students’ results in four core academic courses as reported by Quebec’s Ministry of Education.

“The Report Card’s results are a beginning, not an end. They should be used as the basis for making Quebec’s schools better. And every school can get better,” says Professor Richard Marceau, of ENAP, co-author, and Associate Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

For each school, for the six school years 1993-1994 through 1998-1999, four indicators of school performance were calculated: 1) the average uniform examination mark; 2) the percentage of these courses that the students failed; 3) grade inflation by the school (the difference between their average, raw examination mark and their average raw school mark); and, 4) the differences between the results of male and female students on the previous measure.

From these statistics, a rating for each of the six school years 1993/94 through 1998/99, has been calculated.

In addition, the Report Card considers student graduation rates and measures any apparent trends over time. Also included is a measure of the socio-economic background of the school’s student body that allows parents and school officials to compare their school’s results with other schools that have similar student-family characteristics.

The Report Card serves three key purposes. It makes detailed objective information on school performance widely available so that school communities-principals, parents, teachers, and students-can come together and see how the school is doing. Using this data, they can make plans to improve the school’s results.

Second, parents can use the Report Card as a source of objective data to help them decide which school to choose for their kids.

Third, an enormous amount of taxpayer money-over $7 billion a year in Quebec-is spent on primary and secondary education. Any public expenditure of this magnitude should be subject to close scrutiny and the results made available to any interested taxpayer.

“Constructive comparisons are at the heart of the improvement process and we hope that the report generates productive discussion among parents, teachers, and school administrators on how to improve school performance in Quebec,” concludes Michel Kelly-Gagnon, Executive Director of the Montreal Economic Institute.

The Fraser Institute has published Report Cards on secondary schools in British Columbia since 1998 and in Alberta since 1999. Report Cards are planned for all ten Canadian provinces by 2002.


For data on the individual schools and the complete text of the Report Card (in French and English), visit The Fraser Institute’s Web site and the Montreal Economic Institute’s Web site.

Established in 1974, The Fraser Institute is an independent public policy organization based in Vancouver with offices in Calgary, Ottawa, and Toronto.

The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research and educational institute.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATIONS: Suzanne Walters, Director of Communications The Fraser Institute, Tel.: (604) 714-4582 / E-mail: suzannew@fraserinstitute.ca / Michel Kelly-Gagnon, Executive Director, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel. (514) 273-0969 / E-mail: mkellygagnon@iedm.org / Patrick Leblanc, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel.: (514) 273-0969 / E-mail: pleblanc@iedm.org

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