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Education dashboard: Quebec wants to create a 'ranking list' for schools

Education dashboard: Quebec wants to create a 'ranking list' for schools

Graduation rates, ministerial exam scores and vacant positions in Quebec schools: Education Minister Bernard Drainville hopes to increase student success thanks to a new dashboard that will eventually become a “ranking list” for schools, with data published for each institution.

The education dashboard, accessible online since Sunday, is inspired by the dashboard set up in the health field: it provides access with a few clicks to nine key indicators of the school network, including the dropout rate and the number of students. Even data on classroom air quality is included there.

Starting in August, the number of school vacancies will be broadcast in real time and updated weekly.

This is the home page of the new Education Control Panel.

Screenshot provided by the Ministry of Education

Bernard Drenville asserts that this is a “bad practice in transparency” and constitutes a milestone towards the “modernization” of the school network, which will allow better decision-making, as he argues in an interview with Newspaper.

The Minister has repeatedly lamented the lack of access to data since taking office and promised to address this.

The numbers are now displayed by regions and service centres, as well as by public and private networks, which is already “a very big step forward”, he says.

Towards a 'list of awards' for schools

But this is only the beginning. Bernard Drainville wants to “eventually” publish these results and indicators “by school.”

He added: “We haven't reached that point yet, but that's the goal.”

He added: “Maybe I think the ranking of schools is what we should announce,” referring to the ranking of secondary schools that Newspaper It is issued annually for approximately fifteen years, and is based on students’ results at the end of secondary school.

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However, this ranking has been denounced by many who believe that schools cannot be compared because they often welcome very different students, particularly due to the admission criteria of certain programs or schools.

However, Mr Drenville believes it is possible to do things “right”, by comparing schools “from the same environment” that present “the same disadvantage index”.

The information currently published by the School Service Center is not presented in order, in the form of a classification, but is available, allowing comparisons to be made.

“In order to improve, we must know our results and agree to compare ourselves,” the minister says.

“Let us be inspired by good practices to be better everywhere in the school network,” adds Mr Drenville, who talks about important “cultural change” in education.

Red lights on the dashboard

The dashboard is just one of the elements that is part of this major transformation, made possible by the adoption of Bill 23, which in particular grants more powers to the Minister.

Quebec will now collect student results during the school year, after each stage, which will allow school service centers and schools to intervene more quickly to provide additional assistance in classrooms where results are below average, explains Bernard Drainville.

“I think we will be able to support students much better and identify students at risk of dropping out more quickly and help them before the end of the school year,” he says.

However, there is no question of making these results public, which will instead be part of an “internal dashboard”.

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Thus Mr Drenville says he wants to “help” service centres, some of which previously did not have access to this data due to lack of resources.

Critical approach

However, this approach, which focuses on data and results, is still far from unanimous acceptance in the school network.

During the discussions around Bill 23, which was the subject of intense criticism, many representatives and experts condemned this management style, fearing possible abuses.

Teachers' unions in particular fear that these changes will create more pressure and less autonomy for teachers.

Bernard Drainville denies this. “The goal is to help teachers, help teachers and school staff, and thus help students,” emphasizes the person who wants to create a “health simulation” that will “pull everyone to the top.”

84.2%: Graduation rate is stable (or almost constant)

The graduation and qualification rate for the year 2022-2023, seven years after the start of school, is part of the new data published in this dashboard. This is preliminary data that now stands at 84.2% compared to 84.1% for the previous year, in 2021-2022. However, this indicator has risen significantly over the past fifteen years. Quebec aims to achieve a graduation rate of 86.8% in 2026-2027, according to the Ministry of Education's strategic plan.

3,164 vacancies in Quebec public schools

More detailed data is now available regarding vacancies in public schools in Quebec, where the Ministry of Education was only announcing the number of teaching positions to be filled. According to information collected in mid-January, there are 3,164 vacant positions in the school network, which represents 2.5% of the total positions in public schools. This number, which includes 1,094 vacant teaching positions, includes multiple categories of employees such as professionals and day care teachers in addition to specialized teachers.

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The Minister no longer wants choice in public schools

Minister Bernard Drainville wants there to be no choice in specific programmes, such as an emphasis on sports, arts or science, in public schools. This is what he referred to Newspaper When asked about the difficulty of comparing public schools that are open to all with other institutions that select their students. “I don't want there to be choice in public schools right now. I think we should move toward the end of public school choice right now. Students with special needs have the same right to succeed as others, except they have to be properly supported,” he said.

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