Schools that Make a Difference: A Canadian Secondary Schools Study

Student success is determined to a substantial degree by school-level practices


The goal of this project was to assess what specific attributes were common to schools that were shown to be particularly effective in serving low socioeconomic status (SES) neighbourhoods. School report cards produced by the Fraser Institute indicate high performing schools in low-SES neighbourhoods. This research examined how those schools were outperforming their comparable peers.

Grant Outputs

Schools that Make a Difference: Final Report –

This report documents practices of 12 secondary schools in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, which had better student outcomes than peer schools in neighbourhoods with similar SES. The study set out to uncover what specific school traits resulted in improved student outcomes. A combination of attributes are common to high performing schools, including high expectations of student behaviour and academic performance, strong leadership, high standards of discipline and respect, emphasis on good teacher performance and development, and a caring and respectful school environment. The report garnered a great deal of attention nationally and internationally. It was adopted as class material by the Masters of Education programs at the University of Toronto and the Seattle City University. It was presented at the Congress on School Improvement in Sydney Australia in 2003, and at the Canadian School Boards Association conference in 2003.

Grant Details

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