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Grading Quebec’s secondary schools Montreal Economic Institute and Fraser Institute publish second annual Report Card

Montreal, November 2, 2001 – The Montreal Economic Institute and the Fraser Institute today released the second annual Report Card on Quebec’s Secondary Schools, the only independent measurement of 470 of Quebec’s public and private, French and English, secondary schools.

The foundation of the Report Card is an overall rating of each school’s academic performance on a scale from 0 to 10. This rating is based largely on the students’ results in four core academic courses as reported by Quebec’s Ministry of Education.

For each school, for the seven school years 1993-1994 through 1999-2000, six indicators of school performance were calculated: (1) the average uniform examination mark; (2) the percentage of these exams that the students failed; (3) grade inflation by the school (the difference between their average raw school mark and their average raw examination mark); (4) the differences in the average examination marks of male and female students in Secondary V Language of Instruction; (5) the difference in the average examination mark of male and female students in Secondary IV physical science; and, (6) new this year, a measure of the extent to which each school encourages and assists its students to stay in school and finish their chosen secondary program on time – the Promotion rate.

New this year in the Report Card

“While the indicators used last year informed us about the quality of the training offered by the schools, the addition of the Promotion rate informs us about the schools’ ability to keep their students in the educational system,” says Richard Marceau, co-author of the Report Card and associate researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute. Other new indicators include an Adjustment for value added which, when added to the school’s Overall rating out of 10, indicates the contribution made by the school itself to its overall rating.

The Report Card’s Objectives

“Comparisons are at the heart of any improvement process,” says Peter Cowley, co-author of the Report Card and Director of School Performance Studies at the Fraser Institute, “some schools contribute more than others to their students’ results. Our Report Card allows us to identify the high performing schools, and to learn from them. This information is useful for all members of the education community.”

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

An enormous amount of taxpayer money-over $7.5 billion a year in Quebec-is spent on primary and secondary education. “Any public expenditure of such magnitude necessitates continued, independent measurement of the schools’ results. The measurements should be easily available to any interested taxpayer,” says Cowley.

Partnership with L’actualité

L’actualité magazine will publish a special edition containing all the schools’ results, which will be available on November 2nd.

Michel Kelly-Gagnon, executive director of the Montreal Economic Institute, is delighted that “L’actualité, a magazine which has been respected by Quebec readers for the past 25 years, will publish the results of the Report Card. We are very proud of this partnership.”

Report Cards in Other Provinces

The Fraser Institute has published Report Cards on secondary schools in British Columbia since 1998, Alberta since 1999 and Quebec since 2000. A Report Card on Ontario’s Secondary Schools was produced in April 2001.

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CONTACTS: Richard Marceau, Associate Researcher, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel. (514) 273-0969 / Peter Cowley, Director of School Performance Studies, The Fraser Institute, Tel. (604) 714-4556

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 at www.fraserinstitute.ca and the Montreal Economic Institute’s Web site at www.iedm.org.

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research and educational institute. MEI is the product of a collaborative effort between Montreal-area academics, economists and entrepreneurs.

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

For further information or for a copy of The Report Card on Quebec’s Secondary Schools, 2001 Edition, contact: Suzanne Walters, Director of Communications, The Fraser Institute, Tel.: (604) 714-4582 or Patrick Leblanc, Director of Events, Institut économique de Montréal, Tel.: (514) 273-0969.

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