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Quebec high school ranking: are we on the wrong track?

Are we on the wrong track with a high school ranking? Marc-André Girard, school principal for 15 years, is of the opinion that it does because according to him, a school is not chosen only according to the results of the examinations of the ministry.
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Collaborater at École branchée, Marc-André Girard has also been a school principal for 15 years. The former social universe teacher has signed a text in La Presse + the 1er last November concerning the famous Quebec ranking published annually on secondary schools. A public outing that will have earned him to be guest at the microphone by Catherine Gaudreault of 106.9 Mauricie, in Trois-Rivières.

"Are we on the wrong track with a track record? ". From the outset, the answer could not be clearer for Mr. Girard: “Yes, because it emphasizes the bad things. ". He specifies that a school is not chosen only according to the results of the examinations of the ministry. For 20 years, the annual ranking developed by the Fraser Institute, in the form of a bulletin of secondary schools in Quebec, mainly takes into account the marks obtained by Québec students in the various examinations of the Ministère de l'Éducation.

Special purpose schools

According to Marc-André Girard, a school should be chosen according to the programs that are offered and the approaches proposed by the teachers. To those who think that the secondary school report card is the origin of special-purpose schools, the principal replies that for him this type of school is obviously beneficial, because "they allow students to develop skills other than those in the program. "

Do you have a child who has a technological streak in him and who would like to go to a school that offers the use of computers, digital tablets, 3D printers, design thinking? Go for it! These are choices to be made in the same way as schools offering student learning focused on entrepreneurship, leadership, sports or the arts. “For me, the challenge is precisely to create schools that reflect young people, which is more important than being well on the list. "

This thought on the importance of learning rather than on grades, it comes in part thanks to two lectures by Professor Pasi Salhberg which Marc-André Girard attended. The architect of the reform of the education system in Finland “reminds us that it is the observations of everyday life that count, which are carried out in action by the teachers, rather than the results of the ministerial tests. Moreover in 1968, researchers Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson had already highlighted the Pygmalion effect, that is to say the importance for a teacher to believe in the learning capacity of his students rather than to rely only on categorizing them according to a score.

Creativity stuck by the norm

"What we want is for teachers to adjust their interventions according to the students' needs," recalls Mr Girard.

However, the notion of creativity is more difficult to maintain for 4th and 5th year secondary school teachers, struggling with subjects sanctioned by the Ministry. “Because we want the students to pass their exam, we're going to practice. Therefore, exit the whole question of creativity when, at the end of the day, all that matters in the subjects for which study is awarded is the success of this exam in order to appear well in the prize list. "

In concluding his letter in La Presse +, Marc-André Girard makes a relevant observation for all teachers and all those who revolve around the world of education: “I am much more proud of what my students are becoming rather than notes they got, which I can't remember! "

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About the Author

André Magny
For more than 30 years, André Magny has been going back and forth between journalism and teaching French to teenagers and adults alike. Freelance freelance writer for various media including Francopresse, he was also a cultural journalist at Law in Ottawa and in charge of new technologies at Soleil de Québec. He also did sports journalism in France. He has a weakness for the Francophonie, culture, sports, cuisine and politics.