Canadian School Success: Measuring what matters
Nowhere is this more true than for education. Policy-makers, educators, parents, and the public want to know if our schools are successful; they want evidence of what is working well and where the education system is falling short. Over the last 20 years, achievement in two main areas — literacy and numeracy — has become the shorthand for measuring the success of our education system.
But shorthand has its limitations. When there is too much emphasis on narrow goals, important priorities can be overshadowed. People for Education, working with experts and the public from across the country, is identifying a broader set of goals for education. Equally important, the goals will be measurable, so students, parents, educators, and the public can see how Canada is making progress.
The goals must cover a range of dimensions of learning that are critical to students’ overall success. A possible list of dimensions of learning could include:
- academic achievement
- physical and mental health
- social-emotional development
- creativity and innovation
- citizenship and democracy
- school climate — which can be both a condition that improves students’ chances for success and a goal in and of itself
These dimensions of learning overlap, interconnect, and are mutually reinforcing. And each is significant for students’ individual experience and knowledge, as well as for the public interest in ensuring graduates who are knowledgeable, healthy, creative, and positive about the practices of citizenship.
Research has shown schools can have a significant and positive impact on all these goals. There are many existing measures that can give us information about schools’ progress in these areas.
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