Identifying neighbourhood effects on early childhood readiness for learning and high school outcomes has important policy implications. Characteristics of a child’s social and economic neighbourhood can influence their academic success and in turn success later in life. Social policies, planning practices and interventions at the community level can be focused in neighbourhoods that are identified as having less successful school outcomes. By aiming to create neighbourhoods that contain the social programs and resources that can help children succeed throughout their academic experience, the goals and objectives of education can reach farther than those interventions that are focused on the individual.
GIS is useful for the spatial analysis of school catchment areas that are not producing high provincial exam averages or graduation rates as well as the distribution of childhood readiness for learning scores. These results can be analyzed in conjunction with various socioeconomic measures to look for relationships and potential influences on academic performance. This study has shown multiple ways that GIS can help explore the topic of education disparities in Vancouver.
Visually comparing early development scores (EDI) to high school achievement measures (namely provincial exam marks and the Fraser Institute’s school rating system) was useful to investigate if early child development can predict high school outcomes. From this we discovered that this relationship is not strong –particularly on the east side where EDI scores are often higher than high school outcomes. This finding led us to consider other factors involved in educational outcomes in Vancouver. Specifically we looked at socio-economic variables and how these could potentially determine both early child development and high school outcomes. This part of your analysis used Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) and the investigation of mixed income neighbourhoods to assess the impact of socio-economic factors on child development and high school outcomes.
Uniformly low income neighbourhoods do not provide an environment that allows for the best opportunities for success in school. When economic mixing of neighbourhoods occur, disparities that exist between low and high income neighbourhoods that affect schools can be spread around giving students better chances for success.
Geography does have an effect on educational outcomes in Vancouver. The effect varies depending on which measures are being examined. In order for funding and policy decisions to be having the desired effect on educational outomes decision makers must consider what role geography plays. This study provides important suggestions for how to incorporate geography when trying to understand differences in educational success.