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Southpointe top-ranked Delta school in Fraser Institute list
Tsawwassen's Southpointe Academy is the top-standing high school in Delta according to the Fraser Institute's annual ranking of secondary schools in B.C. and Yukon.
Released Monday (April 30), the report puts Southpointe in 19th place for the 2010/2011 school year out of the total 280 public and independent schools on the list.
The rankings are based on average exam marks in grades 10, 11 and 12 courses that include a mandatory provincial exam.
Southpointe scored 8.6 out of 10 on the most recent report card. That's down slightly from its average 14th place ranking with a score of 8.8 over the last five years.
South Delta's two public high schools were further down the list.
Tsawwassen's South Delta Secondary tied for 73rd spot with a rating of 7.0. That's up from 77nd spot and a score of 6.9 over the last five years.
Delta Secondary School was close behind, tied for 86th place with a rating of 6.8. The school fell from 65th place with an average rating of 7.1 over the last five years.
The Fraser Institute report card also includes information about each school’s make up, including parents’ average income, the percentage of ESL students, and the percentage of special needs students.
"When comparing school performance, it’s important to consider all factors that affect learning. That’s why our report card offers demographic data in addition to exam results," said Fraser Institute's director of school performance studies Peter Cowley in a press release.
According to the report, 14 of the "fastest-improving" secondary schools in B.C. are public schools. Of that total, 10 are below the provincial average in terms of parental incomes.
"Our rankings show that every school is capable of improvement, regardless of the personal and family characteristics of its student population," Cowley said.
The report card also points out that 10.2 per cent of secondary school exams written in 2011 received a failing grade, compared to 8.1 per cent in last year’s edition.
Delta school trustee Val Windsor questioned the motivation behind the right-wing think tank's annual school report card.
"I think most parents and the community realize that what the Fraser Institute is doing is try to sell newspapers and their own organization," said Windsor. "What they are doing is not necessarily good for public education."
Windsor questioned why the Fraser Institute is not publicizing the positive accomplishments in challenged schools in the province, "where an FSA (Foundation Skills Assessment) test has really nothing to do with the struggles these kids are facing in getting to school and being safe," she said. "They don't acknowledge that."
Instead, the annual rankings work to drive students and their families away from those schools, she said.
"It doesn't do anything to help what these schools really need which is a strong and stable community and a properly funded education system."
Windsor added she worries that the motivation of the institute's ranking is to drive students towards the private education system.
The top three ranked schools in the list were private girls' schools in Vancouver.
—With files from Philip Raphael