Nova Scotia Report – What We Heard: A summary of results from parent and student learning at home surveys

A colleague drew this report to my attention.

What We Heard: Summary of Findings from Parent-Student Learning at Home Surveys (2020)

In June, parents and students in Nova Scotia were asked to complete an online survey to share their experience with learning at home during the pandemic. The survey asked a series of questions and respondents were given the opportunity to provide written answers.

Over 20,000 parents of students in pre-primary through grade 12 and over 8,300 students from grades seven through twelve completed the survey. Among the responding students, 530 identified as Mi’kmaq/indigenous and 433 identified as African, with 317 of these students identified as African.

Here is a summary of preliminary findings from the survey that were used to help inform the Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development’s September reopening plan. The department will continue to analyze survey results, and together with the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial centers will use the results as we work together for further planning for the upcoming academic year.

When I started searching the Nova Scotia government website, I also came across Disrupting the Status Quo: Nova Scotia Demands a Better Future for Every Student (Report of the Minister’s Committee on Education – November 2014) which included the following references that may be of interest to readers.

Minister’s panel on the Educational Consultation Survey

Students have the appropriate opportunities to learn using technologies (eg: access to computers and devices integrated with learning, distance education courses, virtual school). I agree / somewhat agree / somewhat disagree / I do not agree / I do not know

(p. 16)

sample quotes

Regional Politics and Finance

The cuts that are made. More and more teachers are being left out and replaced with online courses, causing grades to drop. this is not true. – student

(p. 58)

Students need more choices in high school, especially those who do not go to university

Equal access to programs and courses must be improved:

– Several participants said that the right course options are available in high schools but that access to them depends on where you live in the district. Small rural high schools are unable to employ enough staff to offer the full range of high school courses, and while students can now access more options through the regional virtual school, not all students feel they are learning well in the online courses

(pg. 195)

What was said

Section 1: Increased commitment to equality and human rights

More diversity should be shown between assigned teachers and school curricula – also, the extent to which these issues are promoted/addressed varies based on the teacher and the school/community.

• Additional language courses must be available (can be online).

(p. 235)

Section 3: General Comments

More resources are needed to build partnerships – feedback is mainly about teacher-parent relationships.

• More support is needed to help parents understand reporting procedures, how to access online resources, etc.

(p. 285)

What was said

Section One: Financing

System-wide change is needed for how funding is distributed – regulatory changes need to be made to better facilitate funding allocation.

• Schools need greater flexibility (alternative programming, online opportunities).

(p. 303)

Final comments

Section 1: Climate

Bullying is still a problem that affects everyone.

• Seven out of ten (71%) comments related to bullying came from parents or students.

• There are fears of a culture of bullying and inaction in some school settings (school yards, buses, and then online). While most comments relate to bullying of students by other students, there are perceptions that bullying or intimidating behavior occurs in parent-teacher interactions and management-teacher interactions. The prevalence of these other forms of bullying is uncertain because the survey did not specifically address bullying as a primary topic. What is clear is that those who have taken the time to mention bullying in all its forms feel a passion for the issue.

(p. 326)

Dropping the teaching paradigm in the nineteenth century. Teachers must facilitate learning. Change classroom spaces into learning spaces with options for students to interact with content in useful ways. More problem-based learning and experiential learning with a high degree of technology integration. More online and blended learning options and more one-on-one learning.

(p. 334)



Course Options (191)


There should be a wide range of courses offered to students, especially core courses such as science, mathematics, etc.

– There should be less reliance on online courses, especially for core courses like science, math, etc. (must be offered at school)

(p. 344)

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