School Choice and Accountability Policy and Practice in Canada

School choice is expanding in Canada, with new private schooling options available as well as new programming options within the public school system


This project documented the range of school choice policies and practices across Canada, and collected perspectives on accountability from parent and student perspectives. The project was undertaken collaboratively by Edmonton Public Schools and the Community-University Partnership at the University of Alberta. Along with the inventory of policies and practices in Canada, the researchers prepared a critical review and analysis of issues related to school choice and accountability.

Grant Outputs

Choice and Accountability in Canadian Education: Literature Review –

This report includes a summary of research on school choice, and an overview of policies and practices in 10 provinces. The report examines issues related to school choice and accountability, and concludes with a number of generalizable findings and recommendations for future accountability frameworks. It notes that while parents and students were generally more satisfied with their schooling where choice was available, there were mixed results concerning student achievement. Where students had greater achievement records, it was not possible to establish from the data whether gains were due to the exercise of choice, program selection, or because of other reasons. Variables like parent involvement, home environment, and school selection criteria may play a considerable role in determining student academic performance. The report recommends that any future accountability framework should describe how schools will hold professional and support staff accountable for the delivery of the programs, should explain clearly the roles of parents in the school’s operation and governance, should describe how the staff will be remunerated and assessed, and outline the areas of responsibility for different staff members.

Choice and Accountability in Canadian Education: Technical Report –

This report examines the kinds of school choice available in Canada, and explores what choice looks like in practice in Canadian municipalities. It focuses on two main questions: What do choice and accountability mean to people in the different centres across the country? And what do we know about choice and accountability in Canada, and what do we not yet know? The report emphasizes that choice, while frequently framed as choice between public or private schools, actually encompasses much more, including choice between programs offered at different public schools and choice of programs within a school. It concludes that school choice is expanding in all of these areas.

Grant Details

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