AT SCHOOL Wiltse Elementary School students, Mia Gillette, Calleigh Todd, Taylor Gillette and Cole Ingraham on the school playground which the parent advisory council plans to expand. The Fraser Institute’s latest rankings places the school 482nd out of 955 elementary schools in B.C., tied with Trout Creek Elementary School in Summerland. Mark Brett/Black Press

Accuracy of Okanagan Skaha school rankings questioned

Superintendent takes issue with methods used to determine Fraser Institute elementary school results

The Fraser Institute has released its latest rankings of elementary schools around the province, but Wendy Hyer, superintendent for the Okanagan Skaha School District, believes the ratings do not tell the whole story.

“We work really hard to encourage folks not to give the Fraser Institute report too much credibility,” she said.

The report, prepared by Peter Cowley and Angela MacLeod of the Fraser Institute, are based on the province’s Foundation Skills Assement scores in reading, writing and numeracy in Grade 4 and Grade 7.

The results, released on March 14, give ratings for 955 elementary schools around the province.

In the Okanagan Skaha School District, Uplands Elementary School had the highest ranking, placing 261st provincewide.

Trout Creek Elementary School in Summerland was ranked 353rd. Wiltse Elementary School and Giant’s Head Elementary School were tied at 482nd. West Bench Elementary School was in 541st place, Kaleden Elementary was in 567th place, Columbia Elementary School was in 496th place, Parkway Elementary School was in 655th place, Queen’s Park Elementary School was in 726th place and Carmi Elementary School was in 862nd place.

RELATED: Fraser Institute releases latest B.C. elementary school rankings

RELATED: Private schools continue to top Fraser Institute rankings

Holy Cross School, a Catholic school in Penticton, but not under the school district’s umbrella, was ranked 59th provincewide.

Two small private schools, Summerland Montessori School and Summerland Unisus School, were not included in the rankings.

In the introduction to the report, Cowley and MacLeod state that the information helps parents choose the best school for their children and encourages schools to improve.

“Schools that perform well or show consistent improvement are applauded. Poorly performing schools generate concern, as do those whose performance is deteriorating,” the report states. “This inevitable attention provides one more incentive for all those connected with a school to focus on student results.”

RELATED: 16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

But Hyer said the school rankings are based on a narrow set of criteria and do not tell a school’s complete story.

“The rankings are based on a very small, focussed assessment,” she said. “There’s a lot more going on in schools. It’s not just about test scores.”

She added that in a small school, one or two students who perform poorly on tests or who were not present to write the tests could affect the test scores.

Hyer said the Okanagan Skaha School District has a graduation rate of 91 per cent, which is above the provincial average.

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