Measuring What Matters
Are Canadian schools providing the education that students require?
Broader Measures of School Success: Measuring What Matters
Are students acquiring the skills and competencies they need in order to succeed in life?
Policy-makers, educators, parents, and the public want to know if our schools are successful. They want straightforward and accessible information about what is working and what needs improvement in their schools.
Expanding the definition of success
School success in Canada is most commonly evaluated using assessments of literacy and numeracy. Literacy and numeracy are foundational skills that are critical for further learning and for success in life, and the emphasis on gathering evidence regarding school success in these domains is well-founded, but schools provide students with much more than preparation in the three Rs.
The evidence is clear that for long-term success, students need more than foundational skills in literacy and numeracy. However, there is a glaring lack of information regarding school success in other domains. This leaves large gaps in our understanding of how well schools are meeting both the broader needs of students and the expectations of policy-makers, parents, and the public.
Schools support the development of good physical and mental health; strong social-emotional skills; creativity and innovation; engagement in democracy and citizenship; and provide positive school climates and quality learning environments. However, there are few, if any, tools to reliably evaluate and report on schools’ progress in these vital areas.
Time to recognize – and measure – broader goals for schools
We need an easy-to-understand Canadian set of indicators of educational success that is useful to educators, publicly accepted, and that reflects the goals of a complete education. Because what is measured influences what people think is important, People for Education believes it is time to reconsider how school success is defined and monitored, and to expand the indicators used to measure progress.
New initiative will change how schools are measured
People for Education, working with experts from across the country, is embarking on a five-year project to broaden the Canadian definition of school success by expanding the indicators used to measure progress towards that goal.
People for Education will consult widely about the development of robust, authentic, easily understood measures of positive school climate, health, creative expression, and citizenship and social responsibility to complement existing measures of numeracy and literacy. The consultations will engage teachers, representatives of the Ministry of Education, subject matter experts, parents, and members of the business and labour communities. There will be concurrent processes to engage the broader public and local school communities. After extensive consultations, People for Education will identify or develop appropriate instruments for the assessment of the broader aspects of school success.
People for Education’s Broader Measures of School Success will make it possible for parents, teachers, policy-makers and the general public to answer the question: ”How are our children’s schools and our education system doing?” with a response that reflects the breadth of a strong, Canadian education.