How Are Toronto’s Elementary Schools Faring?
A screengrab of the map showing Grade 3 reading test results in Toronto. The full interactive version is available here.
Every year, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), an independent agency funded by the Ontario government, conducts province-wide tests of elementary and high school students to assess how well those students are handling the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. And every year, when those test results are released, there is a flurry of interest among parents, policy-makers, and politicians, all eager to trumpet the successes of their local schools, or sound the alarm if neighbourhood results are disappointing. And while we may have a sense—or make the assumption—that results are correlated with communities, that the schools with the best scores are the ones in the safest, best-established, and often richest neighbourhoods, we haven’t actually had an easy way of assessing that effectively.
Until now. Map-making, data-crunching journalist Patrick Cain (creator of the Star‘s now-defunct Map of the Week blog) has mashed up test scores for Grade 3 students with a map of Toronto’s school catchment areas, giving us the ability to actually see how closely test results line up with any number of other measures. Cain’s put together three maps—one each for reading, writing, and arithmetic—and hopefully some enterprising researchers will soon overlay them with other maps of the city, particularly ones showing socio-economic divisions within Toronto, so we can start to get a better sense of just how closely test scores relate to those other factors.