Fraster Institute report cards need perspective

The annual Fraser Institute School Report Cards show the Central Okanagan had only one elementary school in the bottom 100 in the province this year and none of the high schools fell below the mark.

  • Feb. 8, 2011 8:00 p.m.

The annual Fraser Institute School Report Cards show the Central Okanagan had only one elementary school in the bottom 100 in the province this year and none of the high schools fell below the mark.

Chief Tomat Elementary sits at 822 out of 875 schools in the ranking, according to the highly controversial report, which uses one standardized test—the Foundation Skills Assessment, administered in Grades 4 and 7—to determine how the school stacks up against other schools.

School districts and teachers have long disputed the report, saying it’s focus is too narrow to read much into the data.

“We don’t discount the FSA. We take it as one of the data pieces we look at,” explained school district superintendent Hugh Gloster. “(But) we try to get multiple sources of data.”

According to Gloster, there are several international, national and provincial ranking systems used to ensure students measure up to competitive standards; but the teachers also do several forms of in-school testing on a daily to weekly basis to make sure kids are keeping pace.

“Canada scores quite well, we’re usually in the top handful of countries on the PISA,” said Gloster, pointing out the international ranking is not broken down to the school district level, though the province, as a whole, does well.

Gloster did not answer which schools have raised red flags specifically using the school districts’ assessment models, but said there are at least 10 elementary schools which are receiving extra resources to help ensure there’s a level playing field based on their level of vulnerability.

“We do differentiate support. We will look at schools, and how students are doing in those schools, and we will look at adjusting staffing levels, for example, and giving additional support,” said Gloster.

While the report clearly ties socio-economic status and the percentage of new immigrants to school performance, the superintendent points out the data reported shows the two are not necessarily tied at all.

Some schools with lower economic brackets, like Springvalley Elementary where the combined parental income averages $38,000, still outperform others, while some higher economic bracket schools, like South Kelowna Elementary with a combined $100,000 annual family income, perform in just about the same middle-of-the-pack range.

The school district does use neighbourhood socio-economic data, and UBC researcher Clyde Hertzman’s Early Development Instrument to assess the level of support young children have going into Kindergarten.

Children are assessed in Kindergarden through Grade 3 on the early learning development profile.

That said, the report card data is heavily skewed toward families with money, illustrating on a standardized test, schools with higher income brackets do tend to do really well.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

Just Posted

Blasting set to start in West Kelowna’s Tallus Ridge neighbourhood

Blasting being done to prepare for 10th and 11th phases of development

Mill Creek is open once again

The Kelowna park has been closed due to flooding in 2017

911 jams causes panic among residents

RDOS chair received several calls and texts from panicked residents unable to get through to 911

Missing West Kelowna Man’s body found

The 52-year old was found near Shannon Lake

Outdoor irrigation banned in Falcon Ridge east of Kelowna

Central Okanagan Regional District says two reservoirs need to be refilled

Neighbours jump into action after grass fire ignites 10 feet from Kelowna home

Multiple fire halls responded to a grass fire on the 800 block of Mount Royal Drive.

Vernon guard joins Heat for 2018-19 season

Two-time Vernon Panthers MVP Leon Schenker is among UBCO basketball’s new recruits

Summerland wildfire grows to 50 hectares

More than 40 firefighters are on scene of the wildfire near Mount Conkle, just outside of Summerland.

14-year-old pilot attempts to break Guinness World Record at B.C. airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab wants to become youngest pilot with fewest hours logged to fly solo

Non-wildfire related calls line plague dispatchers, block line

The logjam of callers Tuesday night resulted in long wait times for people legitimately calling about new fire activity.

Price no guarantee for safety with horse riding helmets: new report

A Swedish insurance report reveals that many brands of equestrian helmets do not protect riders as well as they could.

South Okanagan firefighters save veteran’s house

33 members, with the help of B.C. Wildfire, protect Second World War veterans home from fire

One year later: Still no suspects in killing of 13-year-old B.C. girl

Marrisa Shen was killed in Burnaby’s Central Park on July 18, 2017

Pike Mountain fire still out of control but did not grow overnight

Twenty-two new blazes reported in Kamloops Fire Centre Tuesday

Most Read