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Local schools downplay rankings

The Fraser Institute’s ranking of Ontario schools was given a failing grade by educators in Waterloo Region, who say the report doesn’t offer them anything to improve their schools or help their students.

The report, released earlier this week by the right-wing think tank, ranks elementary and secondary schools in Ontario based on their performance in the Grade 3 and 6 EQAO test results and the Grade 9 math and Grade 10 literacy test results.

In the report, Elmira District Secondary School was ranked 27 out of 717 secondary schools, tied with three Toronto-area schools. Waterloo-Oxford in Baden was just a few levels down, ranked 34 along with eight other schools.

St. Jacobs was the highest-ranked elementary school in Woolwich and Wellesley, at 815 on the list of 2,778. Conestogo P.S. was ranked at 1,391 and Linwood was just down the list at 1,447. Breslau, Floradale and St. Clement were among the schools tied at 1,569. St. Teresa Elementary School was ranked 1,726 and Wellesley PS was at 2,376.

The report covered only about three-quarters of the 4,011 elementary and 892 secondary schools in Ontario as of 2006-07. Only some private schools were included in the report, and junior and senior elementary were excluded. John Mahood, Riverside, St. Boniface, Three Bridges and Park Manor were not included.

Mary Lou Mackie, executive superintendent of education for the Waterloo Region District School Board said the board doesn’t support the way the Fraser Institute ranks schools.
“We don’t know that ranking really provides any helpful information about the complexity of what makes a high quality school,” she said. “We think it can be kind of destructive, quite frankly, when you start to create winners and losers.”

“Is ranking schools helpful? Not necessarily,” said Lee Ann Andriessen, principal at Wellesley P.S. “What we want to do is look at where our school is in terms of provincial standards, not versus what this school can do and what that school can do.”

Paul Milne, principal of St. Jacobs P.S., said the full EQAO results supplied to each school and board provide much more detailed, useful information.

“EQAO provides specific item reports that help us look at the data … and try to identify specific learning needs and to look for strategies to help us address those needs,” he said.

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