With files from Guy Bertrand
Rossland Summit School ranked highest among School District 20 schools in the Fraser Institute’s annual B.C. elementary school rankings.
RSS received an overall rating of 7.2 out of 10, up from 6.8 in 2015, and beat out elementary schools in Fruitvale, Castlegar and Trail. Overall, the school ranked 210 out of 956 elementary schools in B.C.
The Fraser Institute — “an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization” that typically leans right — ranked public and private elementary schools across the province “based on 10 academic indicators derived from the provincewide Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) results.”
Those indicators include the average scores students in Grades 4 and 7 received in reading, writing and numeracy on the FSA tests, the gender gap in reading and numeracy shown by the test for Grade 7 students, the percentage of exams that did not meet provincial expectations and the percentage of tests not written — which effectively penalizes any school that doesn’t place importance on participation in the FSA.
RSS’s percentage of tests not written was 45.9 per cent in 2016.
The BC Teacher’s Federation’s response to the Fraser Institute’s rankings, as shared on the organization’s Twitter, was a meme of old white men laughing and holding wine glasses with the overlaying text “And then we ranked schools bases on one single test.”
Bill Ford, superintendent of School District 20, also takes issue with the way the Fraser Institute ranks institutions.
“In our district, a significant percentage of Grade 4 and Grade 7 students are excused by their parents from participating in the FSA. As a result, the resulting data used by the Institute does not reflect true student performance for our district schools,” he told the Trail Times. “As well, the timing of the assessment can be problematic. For example, we’ve seen a topic in Math at Grade 7 be on the assessment but teachers had not yet covered that particular topic in class.”