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SCHOOLS – Annual report card shows some local elementary schools lagging

Several Kamloops district elementary schools have some improving to do, according to a new report card issued by a B.C. think tank.

The annual Report Card on B.C.’s Elementary Schools, released Saturday (April 21, 2018) by the Fraser Institute, ranks 946 public schools based on 10 academic indicators derived from provincewide Foundation Skills Assessment results.

The highest ranking schools in School District 73 were two independent schools: St. Ann’s, which received 8.9 out of 10, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, with a score of 8.1.

St. Ann’s score put it in a tie for 57thamong the 946 schools

Independent schools often do well against public schools in the comparisons, but Kamloops Christian School received only 5.2.

Among better performing public schools were McGowan Park (7.8 and tied for 132ndplace), Juniper Ridge (7.4), Pacific Way (7.3); Westmount (7.3) and Aberdeen (7.1).

Towards the bottom were the likes of A.E. Perry elementary with 4.6. It has consistently received low scores since 2013 but had moved up to 5.2 in 2016. Marion Schilling was given a 4.1, while Arthur Hatton got only 3.4, the lowest in the district.

Schools are scored on reading, writing and numeracy in each grade, with 2017 being the most recent year marked.

The Fraser Institute said independent schools claimed 80 of the top 102 spots in the rankings.

“The report card provides parents with information they can’t easily get anywhere else about how their child’s school is performing over time and compared to other schools across the province,” said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute.

Of the top 102 ranked schools provincewide, only 22 are public. And of those 22 schools, nine are located in West Vancouver including the top-ranked Cedardale and West Bay Elementary.

The report says that contrary to common misconceptions, according to previous research, families with children enrolled in most independent schools in B.C. have an average (after tax) income only 1.9 per cent higher than parents with children in public schools.

“Simply put, differences in parental income do not appear to explain the differences in the overall ratings of independent and public schools,” Cowley said.

In addition to the ranking, the report card also spotlights schools that are improving or falling behind.

This year, 16 of the 20 fastest-improving schools are public schools. Parkview elementary in Sicamous—the fastest-improving school provincewide—has improved its overall rating from 2.8 to 6.6 between 2013 and 2017. And Woodland Park Elementary in Surrey improved its overall rating from 5.2 to 7.0 over the same four- year period.

“All too often we hear excuses that public schools can’t improve student performance because of the communities and the students they serve, but the evidence suggests otherwise.” Cowley said.

The complete report and the rankings list for the province can be found here.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5674 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on SCHOOLS – Annual report card shows some local elementary schools lagging

  1. Cynthia Friedman // April 22, 2018 at 5:25 PM // Reply

    What an odd article. On first glance, it seems like a list of facts, and for the most part, it is. However, the quotes and statements from the report and person interviewed seem to be implying “private schools are better than public schools”. The bias is subtle, but it is there. I hope the critical reader can take the step in logic that says “we really need our government to support public, non-profit schools so that every kid gets a fair shake.” But thinking even more critically, what ARE those standardized tests? Who devises them? Are they updated? There better not be any questions about yachts or golf in there…I know I was pretty old by the time I knew what that all even was. Would be good to see feedback from elementary teachers (private or public) regarding this report.

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