Calgary schools dominate Fraser Institute’s rankings of top Alberta elementary schools

File photo of a classroom. Global News

Calgary schools dominate a new list ranking Alberta’s top 100 elementary schools.

On Saturday, the Fraser Institute released the 2018 edition of its “Report Card on Albertas Elementary Schools,” which uses “seven academic indicators derived from provincewide test results” to assess 819 schools and come up with its top-100 list.

Fifty-eight of the 103 top-ranked schools were from the greater Calgary area compared to 31 from the Edmonton area.

Of the 819 public, separate, francophone, independent and charter schools that were evaluated, the think-tank noted there were actually more Edmonton schools analyzed (276) than in Calgary (249).

Peter Cowley, who co-authored the report and is the Fraser Institute’s director of school performance, told 630 CHED’s Alberta Morning News that the results appear to be part of a trend.

“We found every single year, the top performing board was Calgary Catholic, followed by Calgary Public.”

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Cowley said he believes the report card can spur change and improvements in schools that have room for improvement.

“Parents can be a powerful set of advocates for improvement if they see that the results at their school are going down,” he said. “[The] point and purpose of public education after all, is to make sure that all of the kids, regardless of their circumstances — either personal or family — acquire the skills and knowledge… that they’re going to need to go on into secondary [schools] and into post-secondary [schools].”

Listen below: Peter Cowley of the Fraser Institute talks about his organization’s new report looking at Alberta’s elementary schools.

READ MORE: 31 Alberta elementary schools see ‘alarming’ decline in performance: report

Cowley said the Fraser Institute uses the data made available to it to compile the list but that it would welcome more information to make its reports even more relfective of what’s happening in schools.

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“I believe strongly that if there were more data — first off, I know if there were more data, the Fraser Institute would include it in the report, and it would make it a more useful report for parents and educators alike.”

This year’s review found improvements in the average Grade 6 math and science test results over the past four years. According to the Fraser Institute, average math scores increased from 56.6 per cent in 2013 to 61.5 per cent in 2017, while science scores rose from 66.2 per cent to 69.5 per cent over the same timeframe.

The indicators the think-tank took into account in order to come up with its rankings were average achievement-test marks in Grade 6 language arts, Grade 6 mathematics, Grade 6 science, Grade 6 social studies, the percentage of achievement tests where the results were below the acceptable standard, the difference between male and female students in their average achievement test mark in Grade 6 language arts and the difference between male and female students in their average achievement test mark in Grade 6 mathematics.

The No. 1 ranked school in Calgary, and top-ranked school overall in this year’s report was Master’s Academy and College, an “alternative public school” that employs a “Profound Learning” model that emphasizes innovation and creativity. Master’s Academy includes kindergarten through to Grade 6 and Master’s College includes the junior and senior high school grades from 7 to 12.

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The top ranked Edmonton school was Windsor Park School, which was ranked No. 2 overall.

To view the rankings, click here.

To read the Fraser Institute’s report in its entirey, click here.

-With files from 630 CHED’s Cassandra Jodoin

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