Fraser Institute grades B.C. high schools

Fraser Institute grades B.C. high schools

Summerland has high ranking in annual comparison document

The Fraser Institute has graded schools in the province in its annual Report on British Columbia’s Secondary Schools.

The report was released on Saturday.

This year, Summerland Secondary School was placed 58th out of 264 schools.

In the last report, the school ranked 123rd out of 294 secondary schools in the province.

The rankings are based on academic marks and graduation rates.

Officials from the Fraser Institute, a right-wing think-tank, say the report card helps parents choose the schools for their children.

“By first studying the Report Card, parents will be better prepared to ask relevant questions when they interview the principal and teachers at the school under consideration,” report authors Peter Cowley and Stephen Easton said in their introduction.

However, Linda Van Alphen, chair of the Okanagan Skaha School Board, said the Fraser Institute report should not be used as the sole factor in choosing a school.

“It doesn’t give a good picture of everything going on,” she said.

Summerland Secondary School has ranked higher than the two other high schools within the school district.

Van Alphen said part of the reason for Summerland’s high ranking is many of the teachers have been at the school for a long time.

Because the focus of the report is on a school’s academic performance, other important factors are not included.

Wendy Hyer, superintendent of the school district, said the Fraser Institute rankings are based on a narrow measurement.

“High school education is much more comprehensive than writing exams,” she said, adding that exams are not good measures of a student’s critical thinking skills.

Van Alphen said the provincial Ministry of Education is working on a comprehensive guide for parents, in order to compare B.C. schools in many categories.

“It’s a snapshot,” she said of the Fraser Institute rankings. “It shouldn’t be used as the reason for having a child in a school, or keeping a school open.”

Last year, during the discussions about the future of Trout Creek Elementary School, some parents brought forward the Fraser Institute’s rankings of elementary schools as a reason for retaining the school.

A report on elementary schools was released in February.

Out of 956 schools, Trout Creek Elementary School in Summerland was ranked 274th while Giant’s Head Elementary School was ranked 496th.