Tumbler Ridge earned a passing grade, barely, in the most recent Fraser Institute School Report Card, an annual event here in BC.
The report uses ten academic indicators using data from the annual Foundation Skills Assessments (FSAs) administered for the BC Ministry of Education. It grades schools across the province on a series of standardized tests at the grade four and grade seven levels in reading, writing and numeracy.
Tumbler Ridge placed middle of the pack, ranking 558 out of BC’s 853 public and private schools that are ranked by the Fraser Institute.
However, that’s a vast improvement over last year’s result, where Tumbler Ridge ranked 768, with an overall score of 3.8.
That’s also better than many area schools. In Fort St. John, for instance, five out of six schools dropped in the ranking.
Tumbler Ridge was also in the middle of the ratings for School District 59 schools, with Frank Ross (351), Tremblay (404) and Crescent Park placing higher in the rankings and Canalta (751), Little Prairie (773) and Notre Dame (817) placing lower.
Only 12 schools earned perfect marks, nearly all of them, as usual, private schools located in the Lower Mainland. However, 46 schools showed significant improvement versus academic performances over the past five years.
Three of the top ten were located in Cranbrook.
“What are Cranbrook teachers doing that results in such significant improvement? The results they have achieved should be a beacon for educators across the province,” said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies.
“This shows the value of the FSAs. Without standardized testing, we wouldn’t know about success stories like Cranbrook. By pinpointing the subject areas in which individual schools are improving or declining and how their academic performance compares to that of other B.C. schools over the past five years, our report helps educators prioritize learning challenges in their schools,” Cowley said.
However, the report is not popular with people who work in the education field, claiming it doesn’t give a holistic view of what happens in a school, and that some schools structure what they teach to get high marks on the FSAs. Even the Fraser Institute cautions that this is just one tool to use when looking at where to send kids.