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Bridgewater High leaps up AIMS report rankings

by Stacey Colwell

Bridgewater High School
 COUNTY - No Nova Scotian school has improved as much as Bridgewater High in recent years, according to a recent Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) report.

 Bridgewater earned a B grade and ranked 11th overall in the province on the ninth annual report card on high schools, up 26 spots from last year.

 "Obviously we are pleased that our school's overall ranking has improved in this particular measure of school and student achievement," said principal Chuck McLellan.

 "As a school community, we are committed to the concept of continuous improvement as that applies to student engagement, student achievement and the overall learning environment."

 However, he said they also recognize this study "is just one of a whole series of assessment tools and measures - at the school, board, Department of Education and external levels - that are accessed to give feedback regarding student and overall school achievement."

 Based on a three-year average from 2006-07 through 2008-09, the most recent AIMS report ranked 54 high schools based on various input data and outcome measures such as classroom marks, provincial exam results, post-secondary achievement, attendance rates, the percentage of students moving from one grade to the next, and post-secondary preparation and participation.

 In absolute terms, Bridgewater scored an A-plus for post-secondary participation, an A for attendance and an A-minus on the language arts provincial exam. Its weak points included a C in Grade 11 moving-on rate and a C-plus in the language arts school mark.

 Among other South Shore schools, Park View Education Centre was 21st overall with a B-minus grade and New Germany Rural High was 27th, also with a B-minus, while Forest Heights Community School and Liverpool Regional High were 40th and 41st, respectively, with a C-plus.

 The president and CEO of AIMS said the best way for schools to improve is for their leaders to be open and honest with the public.

 "Tell them what we are trying to achieve in our classrooms and provide them clear, objective evidence that we are making progress," said Charles Cirtwill in a November 16 press release.

 According to AIMS, the information in its report cards should be used as a guide.

 "It tells you where you should be asking questions and what types of questions you should be asking. If your math exam scores are low and half your kids are generally absent, then you have one problem. If everybody has been in class, and your exam scores are low, you have another," said Mr. Cirtwill in the report, which is available on-line at

 He said AIMS also offers "how to read the report card" briefing sessions.

 "These sessions can be school, board/district or province specific. They can help you better understand the report card and show you how to use it to make public education better for everyone."

posted on 11/23/11
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