The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

June 13, 2010 09:34 ET

Fraser Institute Report Card Comparing Academic Performance of B.C. and Yukon Secondary Schools Shows Fewer Exams Failed and Graduation Rate Climbing

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 13, 2010) - The percentage of B.C. and Yukon secondary school students who passed their provincial exams hit a five-year high in 2009, leading to the highest graduation rates in the region since 2005, according to the Fraser Institute's annual Report Card on Secondary Schools in British Columbia and the Yukon.

This year's results show that 8.7 per cent of tests written by B.C. and Yukon secondary school students in 2009 received a failing grade, compared to 9.1 per cent in 2008. This measure of student achievement has shown a significant improvement since 2005, along with the graduation rate, which reached a five-year high of 95.8 per cent in 2009.

"The report card brings these achievements to the attention of parents and educators, allowing schools to share and celebrate their success with the community, and with one another," said Michael Thomas, Fraser Institute associate director of school performance studies and co-author of the report card.

"For schools that didn't see an improvement in their academic performance, educators can use the report card to identify areas in which improvement can be made and seek advice from similar schools that have improved academically. The report card helps connect schools that may need help with those which have improved."

The Fraser Institute's secondary school report card is the only convenient, objective source measuring the academic performance of B.C. and Yukon secondary schools. It allows parents and educators to analyze how local schools are performing compared to one another, and compared to the regional average. The report card shows whether schools are improving or declining academically based on Grade-12 provincewide exam results and grade-to-grade transition data provided by the B.C. Ministry of Education, which administers the school curriculum and provincial exams in both B.C. and the Yukon.

In tandem with the report card, the Institute's interactive website, www.compareschoolrankings.org, allows users to easily compare the performance of 288 public and private secondary schools from across B.C. and the Yukon using seven key indicators of school performance. Users can create downloadable charts displaying the results.

"This interactive website makes comparing schools even easier. You can compare up to five schools at once based on specific academic measurements such as the percentage of exams written at the school that were awarded a failing grade. You can also see whether the performance at a school is improving or deteriorating on any of the academic indicators," Thomas said.

"These detailed comparisons provide parents with the information they need to ask school principals and teachers important questions about how their child's school is performing."

Parents and educators have shown significant interest in having the ability to track and compare school performance. In 2009 alone, visitors to the Fraser Institute's website requested nearly 153,100 tables of detailed results for individual B.C. and Yukon secondary schools.

The report card contains enough data to allow for valid comparisons among schools, and Thomas reiterated that the purpose of the report card is to encourage schools to improve.

"Every school has the responsibility to provide its students, regardless of their personal characteristics or family background, with the academic skills they need to be successful in later life. The Fraser Institute report card is the only source for parents and educators to quickly and easily determine how their local schools are doing compared to the provincial average, and compared to one another," Thomas said.

The complete Report Card on Secondary Schools in British Columbia and the Yukon 2010 can also be downloaded as a free PDF at www.fraserinstitute.org or www.compareschoolrankings.org.

Thomas will be in Vancouver and available for in-person interviews on Sunday, June 13 and the morning of Monday, June 14.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 75 think tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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