How Canadians hunt for data on their schools

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) provides data that other state and provincial agencies also collect — school closures and road closures, teacher shortages, the number of students in special education — and…

How Canadians hunt for data on their schools

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) provides data that other state and provincial agencies also collect — school closures and road closures, teacher shortages, the number of students in special education — and lets people track those numbers right there on its website. It also publishes state-specific data about school performance.

For example, the Ontario government has the most popular public school district in each of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories — that’s Riverdale in the Toronto area. It sits just below 930,000 students; the median is about 900,000 students. Yet Riverdale has what is called a maximum concentration of students with special needs. If you put a search term like Riverdale in a search box, you’ll find all the EQAO data the province has to hand, and all the data EQAO is compiling for the province.

We’re going to plug that data into a tool so you can type in any school name and see a list of the cases (or identify those as “individualized education programs” (IEPs)) where a student receives specialized services. Right now, we’re using information on the province’s Education Act and Application Tool (EAAT), but you can type a few words into the search box and see the educational programs that provincial law requires to be in a child’s education or what laws and government rules impose on them.

There are a couple other data sources we’re using for this story. For more details, go to wmag.com/go. There’s also a number of educational reporters in the Canadian newsrooms who specialize in school reform. They are in the process of researching the district-level data we’ve been pulling together and are telling us about their best sources for school reform stories. Our hope is that they will use the tools we’ve built to help them gather and report the most useful stories for our readers.

You can also search the national data through the Inside the EQAO site, where you can see school cases and all the data on the EQAO’s government website, which is called Ontaroad.org.

Interested in helping to tell the stories your district is missing?

We’re looking for teachers and other educational professionals to contribute school reform stories in Canada. There are a variety of contributing areas where you can participate, including primary and secondary education, provincial and territorial education, language and literacy, math, special education, speech and language, health and human services, early childhood, science, sports and outdoor activities, adult education, communication and visual, performing and technical arts.

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