The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

May 08, 2011 09:32 ET

New Fraser Institute Secondary School Rankings for BC and Yukon Show Percentage of Exams Failed Has Decreased

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 8, 2011) - Anyone can easily find out which secondary schools in British Columbia and the Yukon have improved or declined academically 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 number one source for objective, reliable information about how B.C. and Yukon secondary schools stack up in terms of academics," said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies and co-author of the Report Card on Secondary Schools in British Columbia and Yukon 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 the secondary schools in their province, territory, and local community."

One important "motion picture" the report card reveals is a reduction in the percentage of secondary school exams failed in B.C. and the Yukon over the past five years, dropping to 8.1 per cent in 2010 from 11.9 per cent in 2006. The delayed advancement rate—that is, the estimated percentage of grade 10 students who will not complete grade 12 within three years—has also declined significantly, falling to 17.0 per cent in 2010 from 22.0 per cent in 2006.

"This is promising for B.C. and Yukon schools," Cowley said.

"But there is still room for academic improvement across the region. 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 274 public and private B.C. and Yukon secondary schools on seven 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 failed, 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," Cowley 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."

Cowley 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," Cowley said.

"The Fraser Institute's report card is the only source for critical, contextual information about the performance of B.C. and Yukon 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."

Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies and co-author of the report card, will be in Vancouver 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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