January 2019 Norm Update – FAQ Print or save as PDF

If you are unable to find the answer you’re looking for in the FAQ below, our team is on standby to address your questions or concerns. Email us at or call 1-877-840-2424 x 1.

How many OurSCHOOL norms are there?
OurSCHOOL reports contain several different norms, in different formats. For a full description of the norms available in each report, see Description of Available OurSCHOOL Norms.

Why did you update the norms?
Since the creation of the previous norms there has been continued growth of the OurSCHOOL surveys across Canada. Updating the norms ensures they have greater national representation, and that they appropriately reflect student perceptions around changing trends in student experiences.

We also want to ensure that our norms are as timely as possible to facilitate informed decision-making. Our general policy is to update our norms every five years, or whenever we modify or update an existing measure.

Why are the norms only updated every five years?
Norms remain static for five years to ensure consistency in benchmark comparisons for school improvement planning purposes. It is important that the norm remains unchanged for a meaningful period of time to ensure these comparisons can be made and captured accurately over time (imagine having a different value to compare to each year!).

How much did the norms change?
The majority of the norms have changed by 5% or less from the historical values. Depending on your measure selection and the grade composition of your district, you may see some notable differences in the norms when comparing to the norm values from previous years. These differences may be more pronounced when results are disaggregated by sex and grade. See January 2019 Norm Update – Notable Differences for more information.

What do I do if I am using the old norms in my reporting?
Although we have updated the norms, this does not mean that historical norms are no longer valid or useful. If you have used them to help set benchmarks or provide context there is no harm in continuing to do so, especially if you have created custom reports using the old norms for longitudinal comparison purposes.

The new norms are one piece of the data puzzle, and can be introduced when appropriate (e.g., when you complete your next set of reports or set new benchmarks). Contact us if you need help in bridging the gap between the old and new norms!

What year are the new norms based on?
The norms are based on data collected from all OurSCHOOL student surveys (elementary and secondary) administered during the 2016-17 school year.

When will you next update the norms?
Our goal will be to update our norms every five years, and the next update will be considered for 2022. Norms for any new or modified measures or reports will be developed as necessary.

What data is included in the norms?
Secondary Canadian norms contain data from nearly 400,000 students from 9 provinces and 1 territory. This includes 160 districts and over 2000 schools.

Elementary Canadian norms also contain data from 9 provinces and 1 territory with nearly 250,000 students contributing. This includes nearly 150 districts and over 2500 schools.

Who creates these norms?
The OurSCHOOL norms are developed by The Learning Bar’s Research Department using procedures established by Dr. Doug Willms, the President of The Learning Bar. To see our full team, click here.

Have the norms in all OurSCHOOL reports been updated?
All reports have been updated with the exception of the Career Pathways and School Completion Thematic reports:

  • One-click reports
  • Thematic reports (Bullying, Engagement)
  • Interactive Charts (National and Provincial lines)
  • Replica School line

Career Pathways was introduced in 2017 and as such the norms included are up-to-date. School Completion norms are unique to this report and will be updated at a later date. See also Description of OurSCHOOL Norms Available.

Have the norms for all OurSCHOOL measures been updated?
All Canadian norms have been calculated with the exception of Healthy Weight and some Sexual Health breakdowns, due to insufficient data.

Which measures have provincial norms?
The calculation of provincial norms for a given measure is based on the availability of data and whether this data meets established thresholds ensuring a sufficient sample size is available to produce a statistically sound norm. For more information, see the Provincial Norms article.

How do I access the updated norms?
You can access the norms by navigating to your View Reports dashboard and opening a report.

In your One-click and Thematic reports, updated norms will automatically appear in all reports generated after January 9, 2019. Moreover, all reports that were produced between September and December 2018 have been regenerated with the new norms.

Within the Interactive Charts, the updated norms will be applied when you select the Replica School comparison, the National Line (elementary, middle or high school) or the Provincial Line (where applicable).

Can I have access to the previous norms?
Yes! The previous norms will still be available when accessing reports prior to the 2018-19 school year (One-click, Thematic reports and Interactive Charts).

Are there norms for the parent and teacher surveys?
No, these are not currently available.