Organizations say notion of grade inflation in independent schools inaccurate
The Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) and Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) are responding to Ontario Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne’s comments regarding private schools giving students higher marks than public schools.
Wynne was quoted in an April 7 Toronto Star article responding to “warnings from public school principals of a two-tiered system in which their richer students take or retake several subjects at a private school to get high marks to add to their transcripts and gain an edge for university and scholarships.”
According to the article, Wynne’s response was to ask officials to examine the feasibility of increasing inspections in private schools and ensuring students aren’t getting too much help.
OFIS has issued a press release that says the charges made in the article are unfair general characterizations of independent education and are “inaccurate and incomplete.”
“The implication that independent school credits are not equivalent to public school credits is wrong and offensive. It undermines the whole provincial education system and threatens the credibility of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma which is one of the most respected diplomas worldwide,” said Barb Bierman, executive director of OFIS.
“Independent schools that grant the Ontario Secondary School Diploma are already more stringently inspected than their public school counterparts,” she said.
“Public schools are always astonished when previously unsuccessful students succeed in an independent school,” said Bierman, “they never seem to consider that good teachers, individualized attention, caring administrators and an atmosphere that encourages parental involvement can make a huge difference in the lives of children.”
The OACS, which has more than 70 member schools across the province, agrees the idea of grade inflation is inaccurate. The OACS would like to know how the information regarding grades in the article was verified.
“I would concur with Barb Bierman that the characterization of inflation of grades for the high schools involved with the OACS is inaccurate,” says Ray Hendriks, OACS director of advancement.
“Our high schools undergo rigorous inspection by the Ministry of Education and this has not been an issue in those inspections,” says Hendriks. “We believe that the success of our students is directly attributable to quality teachers and teaching, individual attention, a striving for excellence in the delivery of the curriculum and students who seek to achieve success in their learning.”