Fraser Institute rankings may be off the mark

Scarborough secondary rankings schools score an average grade of 5.3 out of 10, according to the recently released Fraser Institute School Rankings.

Though some schools in the area rated poorly, the Fraser Institute said the study isn’t meant to be a comprehensive indication of a school’s success.

And some Scarborough principals agree.

“The scope of how they rank is so limited that I don’t think it’s accurate,” said Paul Ambrose, principal at Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate Institute, which received a score of 5.1. “To rank schools, no matter where they are, using the same measurement, … I don’t believe that’s fair. How can you make those determinations using a two-variable formula?”

Scarborough school rankings

  • R.H. King Academy scored 7.7 and ranked 97 of 718.
  • Woburn Collegiate scored 6.4 and ranked 321 of 718.
  • Wexford Collegiate scored 6.2 and ranked 360 of 718.
  • Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate scored 5.1 and ranked 523 of 718.
  • Cederbrae Collegiate scored 4.5 and ranked 587 of 718.

Source: Fraser Institute

The Institute looked exclusively at EQAO Grade 9 math test results, along with pass rates of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. But some say these two things may not paint a fair representation of a school as a whole.

“It’s a real issue as far as I’m concerned because EQAO testing is not a real judgment of whether the kids are achieving the provincial standards,” said Jerry Chadwick, Ward 22 Scarborough East’s public school trustee.

He said the Institute should take into account things like graduation rates and factors that are schoolspecific, like the prevalence of ESL or special-needs students.

This other data isn’t available for the Ontario rankings, said Michael Thomas of the Fraser Institute.

“In other provinces we have more information,” he said. “In B.C. and Alberta, for example, we have other important indicators such as graduation rate [and] credit completion rate.”

These indicators may have been beneficial to Scarborough’s Sir Robert L. Borden Business and Technical Institute, which scored zero this year and ranked 710 out of 718 schools in the province.

Because Borden’s programming differs from other high schools, Chadwick said, it should not be compared to them.

Borden principal Anthony Hack said that because his school doesn’t offer any academic-level programming, the population of students writing the EQAO test is not the same as in other schools.

The results for his school, though consistent, may be skewed, he said.

“They need to make sure when they lay out the results that it’s clearly communicated what their assessment tools are and how not all schools serve the same demographic population,” Hack said.

According to Thomas, the Fraser Institute tries to make it clear to parents that the ratings are not absolute.

“It’s not the whole picture,” he said. “We won’t want someone to take our rating for the school and think that it’s an over-arching complete judgment of the school. It’s not.”