The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

February 27, 2005 09:00 ET

Fraser Institute publishes annual Report Card on Alberta's elementary schools

CALGARY, Feb. 27 - The Fraser Institute today released the Report
Card on Alberta's Elementary Schools: 2005 Edition. This annually produced
Report Card uses relevant, publicly available data to rate and rank 748 of
Alberta's public, separate, private, charter, and francophone elementary
schools.
The five top-ranked schools in this year's Report Card are Windsor Park
(Edmonton) and Glenmore (Calgary), tied for first, and Strathcona-Tweedsmuir
(Okotoks), Nellie McClung (Calgary), and Sunalta (Calgary), tied for third.
On a scale of zero to 10, the average score for private schools in
Alberta was 7.5; separate schools had an average score of 6.2; public schools
5.9; charter schools and francophone schools both average 5.7 on this year's
rankings.
"In Alberta, many parents enjoy considerable choice regarding the school
in which to enroll their children. They use the Report Card as a
decision-making tool," said Peter Cowley, director of school performance
studies at The Fraser Institute, and co-author of the Report Card.

The Report Card's Indicators

The foundation of the Report Card is an overall rating of each school's
academic performance. Building on data about student results provided by
Alberta Education (the provincial ministry of education) each school is rated
on a scale from zero to 10. The overall rating is based on seven indicators:

1. Average achievement test marks in grade 3 language arts;

2. Average achievement test marks in grade 3 mathematics;

3. Average achievement test marks in grade 6 language arts;

4. Average achievement test marks in grade 6 mathematics;

5. Percentage of these achievement tests where the results were below the
acceptable standard;

6. The difference between male and female students in their average
achievement test mark in grade 6 language arts;

7. The difference between male and female students in their average
achievement test mark in grade 6 mathematics.

The Report Card provides an annual overall rating based on these
indicators. The Trend indicator provides evidence of progress (or lack of it)
over time.

Improvement is Possible

To improve a school, one must believe that improvement is possible. This
Report Card, like the other Fraser Institute school report cards, provides
evidence of what can be accomplished. It demonstrates clearly that some
schools have found ways to make their students more successful. These schools
can serve as models for improvement across the province.
As part of the increased focus on results prompted by the Report Card's
comparisons, schools are responding quickly to deterioration in their
achievement levels. In the 2002 edition of the Report Card, 63 schools showed
significant deterioration in their five-year results; in this year's edition
only 41 schools show a similar negative trend. However of these 41 schools, 17
have shown persistent declines in performance that they seem unable to
reverse.
"Parents whose children's schools are experiencing this kind of sustained
decline should assure themselves that the school's administration and teaching
staff have achievable improvement plans in place that will reverse the decline
in academic achievements," advised Cowley.
This is the only comprehensive and widely distributed Report Card on
elementary schools available in Alberta. Detailed results on all 748 schools
are posted at www.fraserinstitute.ca.
The Fraser Institute has published report cards on high schools in
Alberta since 1999. The first Report Card on Alberta's Elementary Schools was
published in June 2002.

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Established in 1974, The Fraser Institute is an independent public policy
organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. The media
release and study (in PDF) are available at www.fraserinstitute.ca




Contact Information

  • Peter Cowley
    Director of School Performance Studies
    The Fraser Institute
    Tel. (604) 714-4556
    Mobile (604) 789-0475
    Email: peterc@fraserinstitute.ca

    Suzanne Walters
    Director of Communications
    The Fraser Institute
    Telephone (604) 714-4582
    Email suzannew@fraserinstitute.ca