Since 1999, the Canadian public policy think tank and registered charity Fraser Institute has been ranking schools in Alberta based on academic achievement in certain areas.
On Saturday, it released the findings from elementary and high school reports for the 2018-19 school year. These reports are meant to give parents and educators updates on how certain schools perform year by year.
Indicators for secondary schools include:
- Average exam mark
- Percentage of exams failed
- School versus exam mark difference
- Courses taken per student
- Diploma completion rate
- Delayed advancement rate
Indicators for elementary schools include:
- Grade 3 average test mark (Lang. Arts, Math)
- Grade 6 average test mark (Lang. Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies)
- Percentage of tests failed
- Tests not written (percentage)
These indicators are then averaged to provide an overall score out of 10 that answers the question: ‘In general, how does the school succeed compared to all the other schools in the Bulletin?’
Some — but not all — of Lethbridge’s schools were included in the survey. Cowley said the Fraser Institute includes all schools with sufficient data provided to them by the Ministry of Education.
Out of a total of 253 high schools in the report, Immanuel Christian ranked 50th in the province with a score of 7.4 out of 10 on the selected criteria. Lethbridge Collegiate Institute came in 114th place with a score of 6.2.
Winston Churchill only received 3.0 points out of 10, placing it in 240th place.
The top high schools in the province were Old Scona of Edmonton, as well as Renert, Rundle College and Webber of Calgary. All four received scores of 10 out of 10 and tied for first place.
Cowley said this doesn’t mean they had a perfect score.
“If a school gets 10, it doesn’t mean they can’t improve,” he explained. “It doesn’t mean they’ve done everything they can do.
“It just means, on the basis of these results, they’ve done better than all the other schools.”
Similarly, if any schools received a score of zero, that means they simply scored worse than any other school — not that they scored zero altogether.
On the elementary side of things, Our Lady of The Assumption scored the highest in Lethbridge, receiving 7.3 out of 10. Out of 863 elementary schools, it ranked 186th.
The lowest-ranked elementary school in Lethbridge was St. Paul, with a score of 2.9 out of 10.
Global News reached out to the three local school boards but all three did not wish to comment on the report.
The top elementary schools in Alberta were found to be Master’s and Renert of Calgary, along with Mount Pleasant and Windsor Park of Edmonton.
Cowley said the report shows the last five years of progress for each school and reminds parents it’s important to gauge growth or decline, not just a one-year snapshot.
He also said the Fraser Institute hopes to receive more expansive data in the future, that includes more than just test scores.