For over 20 years, the Fraser Institute has published an annual school 'report card' of Alberta elementary and high schools. This report card ranks schools in the province by using student's annual provincial achievement test results. The report card is based on each school's results from the previous school year. Schools are awarded a score out of 10, to represent the overall provincial rank and it is important to note that this score does not correlate directly to the exam results. For example, a nine out of 10 report card mark for a school does not mean the student average on the exams was 90%.
How are the rankings determined?
The rankings for this report card are determined using one element - the school’s results on either the Grade 6 achievement tests (PATs) and the Grade 12 diploma exams. For Grade 6 results (Elementary Rankings), the overall rankings are created using the following indicators for each group of students writing the exams:
- the average exam marks (percentage scored) in the subjects of language arts, mathematics, science and social studies
- the percentage of achievement tests where the results were below the acceptable standard (the acceptable standard score is set by Alberta Education)
- the difference between male and female students in their average mark in mathematics
For Grade 12 results (High School Rankings), the overall rankings are created using the following indicators for each group of students writing the exams:
- the average exam marks (percentage scored) in diploma exams
- the percentage of diploma exams failed
- the difference between the school awarded mark and exam mark in each diploma course
- the difference between male and female students in their average value of exams marks in both English and mathematics
- the number of diploma courses taken per student
- diploma completion rate
- delayed advancement rate
Once these are applied to the student results, the schools are assigned a score out of 10 and ranked in order of their results.
What is not considered in the rankings?
Standardized testing results (PATs and Diploma exams) are a snapshot of each particular school’s Grade 6 and 12 students from a given day. Not accounted for in the rankings and report card are the approaches to learning incorporated to achieve the student results and the particulars of each cohort of students writing the exams. In understanding these rankings, it can be noted the metric is a narrow one.
How can the Fraser Rankings help parents choose a school?
Using the school report card, a family can certainly investigate schools and this measure can be one of many considerations to investigate. Viewing the longer term results and trends in the school report card can be helpful in the context of stability of the school programming.
What other information should I consider?
Other areas to explore in considering a school for your child, may include:
- School mission, vision and values
- Approaches to instruction, like the International Baccalaureate
- Program offerings, like Round Square and travel studies
- Student supports
- Athletics, experiential learning, and fine arts
- Post-secondary counselling
- Global Citizenship
- Religious instruction
- Language instruction
Parents want the best for their children. Reviewing data and metrics, visiting schools to experience the settings and learn about all the school can offer and an understanding of their children’s needs and interests, families can make informed choices. We encourage you to reach out to learn more about CFIS as you consider your child's school.
To learn more about the learning environment at CFIS, contact our Admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org.