Students at Elmira District Secondary School are performing about on par with last year, according to a study released last week by the Fraser Institute. The Elmira school ranks as number 67 out of 725 secondary schools in Ontario in the think tank’s annual “report card” of schools.
The Fraser Institute gives EDSS an 8/10 rating for the 2011-2012 school year.
A public policy institution often identified with conservative libertarianism, the Fraser Institute’s stated goal is “to measure, study and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals.” Their annual School Report Cards seek to measure schools in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec based on provincial standardized testing.
In Ontario, the EQAO’s Grade 9 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test forms the primary source of the Fraser Institute’s research. The report shows that 85.5 per cent of EDSS students passed the test on their first attempt in 2012, down slightly from 86.3 per cent in 2011, though down more significantly from 92.8 per cent in 2008. 76.1 per cent of 2012 students passed on the second attempt.
There was deemed to be no gender gap in math. Students in both the academic and applied math streams averaged at a 3.0 rating, which “suggests that students are well prepared to work at the next grade” (the highest rating is 4.0).
Fourteen per cent of tests were judged below standard (the number was 15.7 per cent in 2011).
Representatives from both the Waterloo Region District School Board and EDSS declined requests to comment, instead directing us to an official statement on the WRDSB’s website. The statement says the report “provides an incomplete and inaccurate view of our schools,” and adds that EQAO test results “are not intended to be used to rank schools. Rather, they assist school and board staff to identify areas of improvement.”
The statement goes on to say, “We feel that using only EQAO results to rank schools undermines the richness of school communities, discourages staff, and diminishes the efforts of students.”