Without question, Oakville's strong school rankings are one of the major reasons people call Oakville home. I am often asked questions about our local schools within minutes of first meeting new clients. There are so many immeasurable factors that create a strong school system, however there is one test, known as the EQAO which buyers often use to steer them towards certain neighbourhood schools.
So what exactly is EQAO? In Ontario, all students within the public school system are mandated to take the following provincial tests:
- Grade 3 - Reading, Writing and Math
- Grade 6 - Reading, Writing and Math
- Grade 9 - Literacy and Math
For out of town buyers not aware of our school grades, this test impacts students ages 8/9, 11/12 and 14/15. The test is admistered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office, known as "EQAO". If you hear people talking about EQAO, they are probably referring to these tests.
Standardized testing was first recognized as a need back in 1995 by the Royal Commission on Learning. In other words, approximately 20 years ago, a think tank decided that standardized testing would benefit Ontario's education system which gave birth to the mandatory province wide testing we have today.
EQAO test results are available for anyone to review on the following website : http://www.eqao.com. While the information is good, it isn't organized in a way that makes it easy to spot the top schools in any particular area. As such, I charted the scores for every Oakville Public and Catholic school for the past 5 years and graphed them below to enable buyers to compare the various schools within Oakville. While EQAO scores separate out Reading, Writing and Math scores, most parents are interested in the overall rating so I compiled and averaged the reading, writing and math results together to show an overall score for each school.
The resulting scores for Oakville schools are charted below:
A note about my findings:
- When I was compiling the information, I noticed that individual school scores often varied significantly from one year to the next. This could be due to the strength of the individual students in that particular year, the teachers, the principal, how closely the curriculum was covered prior to the test, or any number of other factors. To reduce these anomalies, I took the 5 year average for each school. I believe this value is much more reflective of a school's strength than the 2012/2013 test result alone.
- Oakville schools fall within the Halton School Board and Halton Catholic School Board. The Halton scores in the charts indicate the overall average for the board so you can compare how well a school does against other schools, the Halton region and all of Ontario. Halton is comprised of all the schools within Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills (Georgetown, Acton, etc).
- The graphs show that the majority of Oakville schools are outpacing the results of both Ontario and Halton. This to me, speaks to the strength of Oakville's schools.
Like any test, I urge buyers to use the results as a guide only. I don't think the scores are anywhere near 100% reflective of the strength of a school. It doesn't take into account the school's principal, the teaching staff, facilities, peers and learning environment. I come from a long line of teachers (my sister is a teacher, my mother was a teacher and my grandmother was a teacher) so I know just how much influence these factors have on the success of a student. The results only speak to the overall average. As we all know, each child is unique and has their own learning preferences and pace of development so what may work for the majority of students at one school, may not work for your own son or daughter. That said, EQAO results are a great tool to acquaint buyers with the strength of Oakville's various schools.
As you have probably figured out by now, schools are a huge factor for a lot of buyers. I am going to focus on providing more information on our local schools in future blog articles so look out for new blog articles in the coming weeks.
If you are thinking of buying in Oakville and want more information on schools, neighbourhoods, the real estate market, etc, I am happy to help. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell phone at 905-484-5162.
Happy house hunting!