Rod Allen, superintendent of the Cowichan Valley school district, takes issue with the Fraser Institute’s annual school rankings. (File photo)

Cowichan standings in Fraser Institute annual school rankings

As usual, private schools top the list in the Valley

Private school Sunrise Waldorf in Duncan tops the controversial Fraser Institute’s annual report card for the Cowichan Valley for the 2016-17 school year.

The school received a 9.2 grade out of 10, and was ranked 49th out of the 946 elementary schools from across the province in the latest report card from the right-leaning institute, released last week.

Queen Margaret’s School, another private institution located in Duncan, came second in the Valley with a score of 8.1, with the school ranked 110th in B.C.

RELATED STORY: 16 OF 20 FASTEST IMPROVING SCHOOLS ARE PUBLIC

Cowichan Bay’s Bench Elementary School took third spot with a 6.2 grade, and ranked as 405th in the province.

At the other end of the spectrum is Shawnigan Lake’s Discovery Elementary School which scored just 1.8 out of 10, and came 928th in the province, followed by Duncan’s Alex Aitken Elementary School with a 2.7 score, and ranked 913th in B.C.

Each school’s grades are based on the results of foundation skills assessment tests that are given annually to Grade 4 and Grade 7 students across the province to test their proficiency in basic math, reading and writing skills.

B.C.’s teachers have been campaigning to boycott FSA testing for years, claiming that the mandatory tests intrude on teaching time and are unfairly used to rank schools.

Officials in the Cowichan Valley school district have also taken exception to FSA testing and the fact that the Fraser Institute uses the test results to rank schools.

Rod Allen, superintendent of the Cowichan Valley school district, said the results of the FSA tests are a “point-in-time” indicator of how students are doing academically in each school, but are not designed to rank and sort individual schools against each other.

“The specific results of the FSA tests are useful within each school to help student achievement, but they are not helpful when used by the Fraser Institute as a broad statement about schools,” he said.

The B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils has also spoken out in support of the FSA tests, stating that they provide important information about the effectiveness of a school’s programs, but has questioned the usefulness of the Fraser Institute’s school rankings.

The Fraser Institute has long maintained that the rankings, which are available on its website, help parents and teachers compare schools by showing which of them have shown improvement, and which schools have fallen behind.

“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.

Fraser Institute Rankings:

Cowichan Valley School District

1) Sunrise Waldorf- 9.2 out of 10

2) Queen Margaret’s- 8.1

3) Bench- 6.2

4) Duncan Christian- 6.0

5) Queen of Angels- 5.8

6) Cobble Hill- 5.5

7) Maple Bay- 4.7

8) Drinkwater- 4.7

9) Chemainus- 4.7

10) Mount Prevost- 4.0

11) Alex Aitkin- 2.7

12) Discovery- 1.8



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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