Posted at 6:30 p.m.
I wrote this in 2018: In my opinion, high school graduation in Quebec is lower than in other parts of Canada because our system is particularly in demand.
The pass mark is 60% above 50% and the hardest subject – Mathematics – is required to succeed here, while the rest is lower. Proving that the concept of graduation is vague and that its comparison is flawed, our students succeed even if they are not better than other Canadians when they take the same exams.
However, since 2018, other factors have come to strengthen my hypothesis, including the excellent discovery on results during COVID-19. And another about the optional and important aspect of ministerial examinations in English Canada (read Tuesday).
Doped ratings in Anglo?
First, I see that the pandemic has not diminished the success of our Quebec high school students. According to official information she raised it. Even more surprising: grades and pass rates have risen further in the English-speaking Quebec network against all inequalities.
How is this possible? How can pandemic success be improved and all studies concluding that it is detrimental to learning? And why more of English speakers?
According to my research, this phenomenon is explained by the lack of ministry tests to verify knowledge during the epidemic and therefore only teachers and schools are given the freedom to decide with variable effects depending on the region and language.
The Ministry of Education agrees. I was told by email that “the pass rate calculation based on the evaluations provided by the schools is undoubtedly the main reason for this increase”.
Let’s look in detail. Five Cabinet Reviews in 2020 and 20214E And 5E Secondary is canceled (they usually count up to 50% per year). So success is measured by the unique expectations made in school.
The first was the success in 2020, reaching 95.4% in the public sector, an all-time high. However, it is difficult to compare this year with the pre-epidemic period, as there is a reference to “passing” or “not passing” without numerical marks on the course card, in the wake of the total chaos caused by the massive lockdown.
The year 2021 is very relevant with grades and success rates for every school service center in the public network despite distance education.
Results? The success rate of the same five courses reached 90.3%, with the exception of 2020, which is historically the first among the public. This is an increase of 1.2 percentage points in 2021 compared to last year before the epidemic, i.e. 2018.1.
But now, the situation is a little different depending on the language. On English school boards, the success rate increased by 3.4 percentage points, compared with 0.9 points in French.
This also applies to the average marks obtained in these courses: an increase of 1.9 points (75.4%) in Anglophones, but a decrease of 0.3 points (73.9%) in Francophones.
The situation is even more striking when we rank service centers and school boards in terms of improvement in success rate during the epidemic. With the pass rate improvement above average in 2021, the top six ranks are maintained by five English school boards.
On the board of the New Frontiers School in Montérégie, the jump was 8 percent points. The success rate increase on the English-Montreal and Lester-B.-Pearson school boards on the island of Montreal is close to 5 points.
It is surprising to have 5 English speaking school boards at the top when we know that this community has only 9 school boards in Quebec compared to 61 school service centers for Francophones.
And the increase in English speakers is just as important on the south coast of Montreal or elsewhere in Monterey!
The success rate for anglophones is even higher than that for francophones in 2020 – albeit less pronounced – and for many school boards in 2021.
How is this possible?
According to academic researcher Richard Guay, the difference may be due to a particular “grading culture”. “Teachers in English-speaking schools considered the epidemic more in their classes than in French-speaking ones,” he believes.
Two other studies by this former Director of Studies in the College Jean-de-Brebuff clearly demonstrated the cultural aspect of grading.
For example, in CEGEP, English-speaking colleges have a better graduation rate than French-speaking students. However, high graduation gaps are explained by the low difficulty of half the courses, he demonstrated in an extensive econometric study. This is especially true of major subjects such as philosophy (The humanities) And literature2.
In 2014, Richard Guay discovered a similar bias, but not language, by comparing teacher ratings with the results of ministerial exams at the end of secondary school.
In particular, teachers in strong schools give their students lower grades for being tough. “It’s the same with private schools that make choices like Brebuff, Regina-Asumpta, Jean-Yudes, L’International. ⁇
And vice versa: teachers in weaker schools are less serious in their grading, which is corrected by ministerial examinations. In short, 75% of marks in a briefcase do not have the same meaning as in a backward public school.3.
“It simply came to our notice then. Teachers adjust according to the strength of their groups, “said Richard Guay.
Typically, the Ministry of Education uses the marks obtained in compulsory uniform examinations to “moderate what is provided by the establishment, that is, to reduce or eliminate the effect of local variations,” the ministry’s website explains.
This regulation will not be possible in 2020 or 2021 with the cancellation of single events.
Do English-speaking families have better technological equipment (computers, Internet, etc.) that explains the higher growth with distance education courses?
Richard Guay did not believe it, nor did Catherine Heck, an economist who specializes in education. Why? Because in the end, as other studies have shown, results are no better with the distance learning formula than face-to-face.
I joined two of the English school boards where success rates increased significantly.
On the Lester-B.-Pearson School Board, there are a dozen secondary schools, and it is estimated that this sharp increase was due to the priority given to priority learning as requested by the Ministry due to the effects of the epidemic.
Another point: “Teachers are more focused on work than exams, and it’s very difficult to control them online, which is favorable for low-ability learners in exam situations,” explained Matthew Kenawan, the school’s board of education services director.
The great cooperation of the parents also played a role, said Mr. Kenawan, noting that the students on this commission, which is mainly based in the West Island of Montreal, are more likeable and therefore have better tools. Technology (computers, internet, etc.).
In general, he could not explain to me why success on the English boards was so much better.
A similar response to the board of the New Frontiers School in Monterrey was that one of the two secondary schools on board (Orsmontown) was able to face the whole process during the epidemic, due to fewer COVID-19 cases.
It is impossible to know whether the almost monthly meetings of the Directors General of the nine English School Boards, like the Directors of Education, affected the rating.
The English-Montreal school board did not respond to my requests.
Of course, scientific study is needed to make unquestionable conclusions. See if their links with English speakers’ community spirit and technology play a role.
Similarly, the absence of ministerial examinations seems to be a descriptive factor for development in many school centers, especially in English-speaking centers.
1. Comparable year 2019 has never been published on the Ministry of Education website.
To read tomorrow
Countless tests outside Quebec