Kootenay Lake school district superintendent Jeff Jones has slammed the recently released Fraser Institute elementary school rankings, calling them misleading.
“These rankings are misleading and ignore important contextual information that we address school-by-school. They misinterpret the definition of student success and academic achievement, and in essence, attempt to establish the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) as a ‘high stakes’ examination regimen–which it was never intended to be.”
Jones said because the Fraser Institute was originally formed in order to study competitive markets, “their original work in education was to support the establishment of independent schools—support largely sought by a right-wing conservative political stance.”
The Star reached out to several principals in the area to discuss the results, all of whom expressed skepticism about the utility of the report. Most hadn’t seen the results, while many questioned the methodology used.
All of the principals reached declined to comment, and many expressed negative opinions of the institute’s reliance on the FSA test to measure student success.
“I find it unfortunate that so much attention is given to one set of data. It is this use of data that leads to such a distrust of the provincial examination program,” said Jones.
He said the primary issue with the institute using the FSA to rank schools is that it doesn’t compare the same children from one year to the next.
“The institute doesn’t measure the same students year to yet, yet the rankings assume all students and their experiences are equal…the rankings don’t adequately take into account important contextual information that we examine as educators.”
According to the report card, St. Joseph Elementary is the strongest institution in Nelson, ranking 191st out of 978 schools.
St. Joseph earned a score of 7.3., narrowly edging out Hume Elementary at 7.2.
The lowest ranked schools were J.V. Humphries and Winlaw, which earned scores of 2.2 and 2.1, and came 955th and 958th in the rankings.
Jones urged parents to ignore the findings.
“Read the Fraser Institute results with a great deal of caution—if you need to read them at all.”
To read more results visit compareschoolrankings.org.