An independent think-tank’s annual report card on how Ontario’s high schools fare in developing students is out and Ottawa ranks near the head of the class.
According to the Fraser Institute’s Report On Ontario Secondary Schools released yesterday, Ottawa ranks above the provincial average when schools are compared based on students’ results in provincewide tests of literacy and mathematics skills, administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). The report awards a relative score out of 10.
By design, the average score for all schools is 6.2. The average score for the 46 schools the report identified as in the Ottawa area comes in at 7.1.
“That’s a huge difference,” said Peter Cowley, the institute’s director of School Performance Studies and co-author of the report card. “That puts Ottawa fourth in terms of geographical area.”
Despite Ottawa’s good showing, Lynn Scott, chair of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, said yesterday she doesn’t put much stock in the report.
“The measures they use were not designed for ranking schools — those (EQAO) tests are to help students learn and to show their progress.”
She said schools with many English-as-second-language or special education students will not rank highly on the report, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good schools.
Of the 37 geographical areas ranked, only Halton, York and Avon-Maitland scored higher than Ottawa. Locally, Lisgar Collegiate was the best-ranked high school with a score of 9.2 — tying it for 12th provincially.
Two schools just outside the city — St. Michael’s in Kemptville and L’Escale in Rockland — had some of the highest scores in Ontario, at 10 and 9.4 respectively.
The Al-Madinah School of Ottawa ranked lowest, with a 2.2 score.
Cowley said the purpose of the rankings is for parents to get a sense of how their children’s school is doing compared to others in Ontario.
“Schools that are ranked consistently low should ask, ‘Do we have an improvement plan?’” he said.
The institute’s annual report is the only publication of its kind to analyze publicly available data to rate and rank 725 of Ontario’s English and French, public and separate, secondary schools.