Terrace and Kitimat secondary schools have moved up on a research institute’s rankings of 251 of B.C.’s secondary schools.
Both Caledonia in Terrace and Mount Elizabeth Secondary School in Kitimat have been included in the top 10 schools considered to be improving the fastest, indicates the Fraser Institute in an annual report issued today.
Although roundly criticized by teachers, administrators and school districts as being unrepresentative of actual student performance and of being arbitrary in nature, the institute’s annual report cards of both private and public secondary and elementary schools are often used to make comparisons.
Based on a performance rating out of 10, Caledonia placed 4.9 in 2014 and is now at 7.1 while Mount Elizabeth has improved from a 3.2 rating in 2014 to 5.7 now.
When based against all of the other secondary schools in 2017-18, Caledonia now ranks 59th out of 251 and Mount Elizabeth 150th out of 251. A five-year average calculated by the Fraser Institute placed Caledonia at 137th out of 240 schools and Mount Elizabeth 188th out of 240 schools.
The institute calculates its rankings by looking at average exam marks, percentage of exams failed and graduation rates among other data.
Mount Elizabeth’s graduation rate in 2014 was 86.3 per cent and has risen to 96.5 per cent as of 2018. Caledonia’s rate graduation rate in 2014 was 87.6 per cent and in 20018 it was 94.3 per cent.
Average exam marks also increased between 2014 and 2018 for both schools.
The percentage of special needs students at Caledonia was 16 per cent in 2018 and 17.1 per cent at Mount Elizabeth in 2018.
No data was provided for the alternate schools run by the Coast Mountains School District in the two cities — Parkside in Terrace and Kitimat City High.
Hazelton Secondary School in Hazelton, also within the Coast Mountains School District, did not fare as well, the Fraser Institute has determined.
Its 2017-2018 rankingat 248 out of 251 schools is comparable to its five-year average of 240 out of 240 schools.
The Hazelton Secondary graduation rate of 91.5 per cent in 2014 dropped to 79.5 per cent in 2018, the Fraser Institute indicates.
And while neither Caledonia nor Mount Elizabeth list any students as being within the category of English as a secondary language, 10 per cent of Hazelton Secondary School’s students are classified as such.
Hazelton’s special needs student percentage is also marginally higher at 21.7 per cent than at Caledonia or Mount Elizabeth.
Typically, independent schools top the ranking and have drawn ire of the B.C. Teacher’s Federation Association for decades.
In this year’s calculations, seven of the top 10 fastest improving are outside of Metro Vancouver, said Angela MacLeod, Fraser Institute’s senior policy analyst.
Based on calculations, Agassiz’s sole high school improved the greatest, from a rating of 4.6 out of 1- in 2014 to an 8.6 in 2018.
“All too often, we hear excuses that public schools can’t compete with independent schools because of the communities and students that they serve, but that’s just not true—every school can improve and strive to rank higher than the year before,” MacLeod said.
To view the full report, click here.
– with files from Ashley Wadhwani