The goal of this project was to better understand elementary and middle school academic achievement by carefully interpreting standardized test results. By adjusting standardized test analyses on the basis of socio-economic considerations and comparing schools from similar neighbourhoods across different districts, schools with both higher and lower than expected achievement were revealed. Policy makers, administrators and teachers can use these results to identify and reproduce school-specific characteristics that are having a positive impact in comparable schools.
School Grades: Identifying Alberta’s Best Public Schools – http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/ebrief_96.pdf
This report was intended not to rank schools, but rather to identify useful indicators of top performing schools whose practices might be replicated in other similar school environments. The report analyzes data from standardized tests written by students in grades 3, 6 and 9. Similar schools were compared by examining the social and economic characteristics of different school populations. Important differences were found between similar schools. This information can be used to begin examining school specific qualities in order to replicate best practices and raise achievement across the board.
School Grades: Identifying British Columbia’s Best Public Schools – http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_258.pdf
This report demonstrates that standardized test score comparisons can be used to effectively identify excellent schools. By comparing data from similar schools, correcting for socioeconomic differences and using large sample groups over a number of years, similar schools can be usefully compared. This allows policy makers, administrators, parents and teachers to see which schools are producing the best results, and how best practices could be transferred to other schools.