I absolutely abhor the ranking of secondary schools by the Fraser Institute solely on the basis of provincial examination results. Here are some of the reasons why I disagree. Small schools are at a disadvantage because of limited enrolment which often means they are unable to offer all the provincially examinable subjects; consequently students have to take these by correspondence or on-line. Not the most effective way to do well on provincial exams.
Teachers in most schools are faced with 90 – 100 hours of classroom time to cover all the content required for the exams. Numerous other schools – especially large and private schools, are often able to program 120 hours or more for the same subject matter. The results from these schools tend to skew the exam results making it difficult for others to improve their ranking.
The Fraser Institute rankings do not take into consideration all the other excellent courses that schools offer that are not provincially examinable.
Schools offer great courses in all shop areas (where most of our trades people acquire their skills), effective work experience and co-op programs, outdoor survival, as well as student leadership, career and personal planning. Let’s not forget all the important music and fine arts programs that many students excel at.
The FI intellectuals totally ignore these “fringe courses” in their rankings because in their great wisdom deem them as unimportant. They also fail to take into consideration socio-economic conditions and demographics affecting many schools.
If a special group, such as the FI, feels it is important to rank schools, then take into consideration “all the factors,” level the playing field. It’s unfair to base rankings on one criteria.