The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

April 19, 2009 06:01 ET

Fraser Institute Report Card on Ontario Secondary Schools Allows Parents to Compare School Performance

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 19, 2009) - The Fraser Institute today released its Report Card on Ontario's Secondary Schools 2009, an easy-to-use tool that allows parents to compare a school's academic performance over time as well as see important demographic information such as average household income and the percentage of special needs students attending a school.

The report card provides rankings and scores for 718 English and French public and Catholic secondary schools from across Ontario. The complete secondary school report card is available at www.fraserinstitute.org.

"Parents have repeatedly shown they value the ability to track the performance of their child's school and compare it to other schools," said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies.

"Our report card allows parents to quickly and easily determine if their child's school is improving or regressing academically. It gives parents information they can use in discussions with teachers and principals."

One of the key features of the Fraser Institute's Report Card on Ontario's Secondary Schools 2009 is the wealth of data that allows parents to compare schools based on a number of factors. For example, it shows that some of the best performing secondary schools can be found in neighbourhoods with low average household incomes.

"The results from these schools show the schools' teachers and administrators have found ways to ensure that their students succeed. Just because a student comes from a family with a below average income does not automatically mean they will do poorly in school," Cowley said.

The best performing school with a low average household income is Norwich in the Thames Valley area. It scored 9.2 and its students have an average household income of $47,400. North Middlesex in Parkhill scored 8.8 and has an average income of $55,700 while Monseigneur-de-Charbonnel in Toronto scored 8.6 with an average income of $53,600.

Other top-performing schools with low household incomes include Hearst, in Ontario North East (average household income $47,400), Notre Dame in Toronto (average household income $58,800), Agincourt in Toronto (average household income $52,400), Samuel-Genest in Ottawa (average household income $55,500), St. Joseph's in Cornwall (average household income $59,500), Atikokan in Kenora (average household income $27,400), and R. H. King in Toronto (average household income $57,200).

The average parental income for all Ontario secondary schools listed in the Fraser Institute Report Card is $73,500.

Cowley said critics of the Fraser Institute report card too often excuse a school's poor results by blaming them on socio-economic factors. By doing so, these critics are essentially writing off a student's chances of success based on a family's economic standing.

"Every school should ensure that all its students meet the provincial standard in literacy and mathematics, no matter where the student lives or how much their parents earn," he said.

The Fraser Institute's annual report card on secondary schools compiles data from several indicators into easily read charts that allow anyone to analyze and compare the performance of individual schools. In addition to the average test results for each school, the report cards include the percentage of tests written by students who failed to meet provincial education ministry expectations, and details on whether the school's performance is improving or declining over time. Other indicators such as the number of special needs students at each school and the average parental income level of the school's students, provide some context within which to analyze each school's results.

Parents consult the report card, at www.fraserinstitute.org, when they help their children choose a school and use it as an annual audit of how their children's school is doing academically.

"Using the report card to compare a private school in a well-off Greater Toronto neighbourhood to a small, rural public school in northern Ontario may not be useful," Cowley said.

"But comparing schools with similar student characteristics within the same community allows parents to ask educators important questions about a school's performance and whether or not it is improving."

NOTE: Peter Cowley, the report card's author, will be in Toronto and available for interviews Sunday, April 19 and Monday, April 20.



MEDIA CONTACT:
Peter Cowley, Director of School Performance Studies, The Fraser Institute
Cowley will be in Toronto and available for interviews Sunday, April 19 and
Monday, April 20.
Cell: (604) 789-0475
Email: peter.cowley@fraserinstitute.org


The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational organization with locations across North America and partnerships in more than 70 countries. 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.

Contact Information