The Report Card on Alberta’s Elementary Schools 2014 reports a variety of relevant, objective indicators of school performance. These indicators are used to calculate an overall rating for each school. On the basis of this rating, the schools are ranked. The Report Card brings all of this information together in one easily accessible public document so that anyone can analyze and compare the performance of individual schools. By doing so, the Report Card assists parents when they choose a school for their children and encourages and assists all those seeking to improve their school.
In Alberta, many parents enjoy considerable choice regarding the school in which they will enroll their children. Where choice is available, the Report Card provides a valuable decision-making tool. Because it makes comparisons easy, the Report Card alerts parents to nearby schools that appear to have more effective academic programs. Further, parents can determine whether schools of interest are improving over time. By first studying the Report Card, parents will be better prepared to ask relevant questions when they interview the principal and teachers at the schools they are considering.
Of course, the choice of a school should not be made solely on the basis of a single source of information. Families choosing a school for their students should seek to confirm the Report Card’s findings by visiting the school and interviewing teachers and school administrators. Websites maintained by the provincial ministry of education and local school boards may also provide useful information. Parents who already have a child enrolled at the school provide another point of view.
The Report Card provides a detailed picture of each school’s academic outcomes that is not easily available elsewhere. Naturally, a sound academic program should be complemented by effective programs in areas of school activity not measured by the Report Card.