Where's your child's school? Fraser Institute releases B.C. elementary school rankings
The Fraser Institute released its latest report card on B.C. elementary schools today, ranking 860 public and independent schools based on data from province-wide tests known as the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA).
The annual report card is the only “objective, reliable tool. that parents have to compare the academic performance of their child’s school over time and to that of other schools in their community,” Peter Cowley, the institute’s director of school performance studies, says in a release.
But the report card has many critics, including the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and other education partners, who say the rankings are misleading because one set of basic-skills tests, delivered in Grades 4 and 7, is an inadequate measure of a school. The BCTF has been lobbying the Education Ministry for years to change the FSA from a census test to a random sample so that the Fraser Institute, a conservative think-tank, cannot produce its annual rankings.
The Alberta government recently promised changes to its province-wide achievement tests to stop similar rankings in that province, which Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk described as a misuse of data. B.C. Education Minister George Abbott has said he has no plans to follow suit because he believes the FSA is useful in identifying areas in need of improvement and schools that are experiencing success.
In its release today, the Fraser Institute says its latest report card found success stories in every corner of the province. For example, it noted that Montecito elementary in Burnaby ranked among the top 10 per cent of elementary schools despite a large ESL enrolment and low parental income.
The report card is available online: www.compareschoolrankings.org.