The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

May 08, 2011 06:32 ET

New Fraser Institute Ontario Secondary School Rankings Show Decrease in Percentage of Exams Falling Below Provincial Standards

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 8, 2011) - Anyone can easily find out which Ontario secondary schools have improved or declined in terms of academics over the past five years using the annual school rankings released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.

"Our report card is the No. 1 source for objective, reliable information about how Ontario secondary schools stack up in terms of academics," said Michael Thomas, Fraser Institute associate director of school performance studies and co-author of the Report Card on Ontario's Secondary Schools 2011.

"By displaying individual school results for the past five years, the report card offers a 'motion picture' indicating whether a school has improved or declined over time. The idea is that every school is capable of improvement, and that everybody should have easy access to clear, up-to-date information about the performance of schools provincewide."

One important "motion picture" the report card reveals is a reduction in the percentage of secondary school exams scoring below the provincial standard over the past five years, dropping to 26.9 per cent in 2009/2010 from 29.3 per cent in 2005/2006.

"This is a promising trend for Ontario schools," Thomas said.

"But with more than a quarter of exams still falling below the provincial standard, there is room for academic improvement across the province. Our report card makes it easy for anybody to identify the areas in which individual schools most need to improve to provide their students with the best possible education."

Individual school results may be viewed at www.compareschoolrankings.org, a free-to-use, interactive website where anyone can quickly and easily compare 727 Ontario secondary schools on six key indicators of academic performance derived from the results of provincewide testing.

The website allows users to compare up to five schools at once based on exam results in multiple subject areas, percentage of exams below standard, and each school's overall rating. The website generates easy-to-understand graphs that users may download.

Adding context to the rankings, the website also displays the average parental income at each school and the percentage of ESL and special needs students enrolled.

"Only at www.compareschoolrankings.org can parents quickly determine whether the schools in their community are trailing, meeting, or exceeding the provincial average in academics, and whether there has been any fluctuation in their performance over time," Thomas said.

"For parents moving from one city to another, the Fraser Institute report card offers valuable insight about a school's academic history and the demographic make-up of its population—key considerations when choosing the right school for your kids."

Thomas says that one purpose of the report card is to put the spotlight on schools that have improved, and encourage them to share their recipe for success.

"When two different schools have student populations with similar personal and family characteristics, but there's a big gap in exam results, parents and educators should be looking for ways to reduce this disparity," Thomas said.

"The Fraser Institute's report card is the only source for critical, contextual information about the performance of Ontario secondary schools year to year. By highlighting key areas in which improvement can be made, the report card helps individual schools provide their students with the best possible education."

School results are available in weekend editions of the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, and Osprey-owned newspapers across the province.

Michael Thomas, Fraser Institute associate director of school performance studies and co-author of the report card, will be in Toronto and available for media interviews on May 8, 2011.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational organization with locations across North America and partnerships in more than 80 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

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