Fraser Institute releases high school rankings for Greater Trail

Rossland Secondary School, J.L. Crowe ranked 46th and 108th respectively in Fraser Institute's 2012 report.

There was a decline in the student success rate at J. L. Crowe Secondary School, according to the Fraser Institute’s latest annual report card ranking for B.C.’s secondary schools.

In the “Report Card on Secondary Schools in B.C. and the Yukon 2012,” J. L. Crowe Secondary School received a 6.4 overall rating out of 10 for academic performance in 2011, down from the 6.7 rating it received in 2010.

Out of the province’s 280 schools, J.L. Crowe rated 108th overall, down from an average of 74 in the last five years.

Rossland Secondary had the highest ranking of any West Kootenay secondary school coming in 46th although its overall rating dipped slightly receiving a 7.5 for 2011 down from a 7.8 overall rating in 2010.

The annual report card rates public and independent schools on 10 key indicators, using provincial exam results, grade-to-grade transition rates and graduation rates, as well as providing an overall five-year ranking.

“If you look at J. L. Crowe Secondary you’ve got three out of seven indicators saying that there is a slight decline,” said Peter Cowley, the director of school performance studies in the Fraser Institute, noting that failed exam rates have gone up, the percentage of students graduating within the normal time period and a disconnect between grades awarded within schools compared to provincial exams.

“It might be time to begin discussing the implications of these findings.”

But the Fraser Institute’s annual report card holds little value to school officials who see the report as a biased perspective that does not reflect students accurately.

“To be honest, (the report) is not something that accurately reflects what we’re doing, as it is only a brief snapshot of very specific measures,” said Dave DeRosa, principal at J. L. Crowe. “It’s not very significant in terms of assessing the impact of our practices.”

DeRosa said the school district and teachers at Crowe orchestrate progress reports through a partnership that monitors provincial testing through several groups of students. He noted the provincial exams have shown dramatic improvements in literacy results in social studies among Grade 11 students.

However, the Fraser Institute claimed the report cards were the only way parents could monitor the performance of their child’s school.

Cowley said when comparing school performances, it was important to consider all factors that affected learning. That’s why the institute’s report card offers demographic data in addition to exam results, he said.

“The rankings show that every school is capable of improvement, regardless of the personal and family characteristics of its student population,” Cowley said.

The remainder of the Kootenay Boundary and Kootenay Columbia region schools had Salmo Secondary ranked 272 out of 280 in 2011; Grand Forks Secondary School placed at 181; Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries Secondary tied with Crowe at 108; and LV Rogers Secondary in Nelson ranked 73rd overall.

In addition to the 10 key indicators, the rankings consider average parental income, the percentage of students in English as a Second Language programs, French immersion or those with special needs.

According to representatives at the Fraser Institute, the annual report card indicated 10 per cent of families residing within 14 of the fastest-improving secondary schools are not only from families in B.C., they are also from parents that fell below the provincial average for parental income.

Some of the fastest improving B.C. Secondary Schools include Selkirk (Public), Kimberley; David Thompson (Public), Invermere; Fort Nelson (Public), Fort Nelson; and Rutland (Public), Kelowna.

For more information about the annual report cards, please visit http://britishcolumbia.compareschoolrankings.org/SchoolsByRankLocationName.aspx?schoolType=secondary&compare=02011014

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