Only one school in the district has been ranked by the Fraser Institute in its annual report card on schools.
But given the number of students who did not take the test, the results may be unreliable.
Nearly 13 per cent of students in Grades 4 and 7 did not write the Foundation Skills Assessment exam that the Fraser Institute uses in its annual Report Card on B.C.’s Elementary Schools.
“Some students are exempted for special needs,” said Katherine McIntosh, director of education for School District 85. “Some students are exempted for family circumstances.” Those circumstances may be illness or another situation but could also include parents who simply don’t want their children to participate, a move encouraged by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.
“We like to have as many students as possible participate, but we encourage principals to consult with families who have concerns,” said McIntosh.
Sunset Elementary scored 681 out of 875 schools ranked. Other elementary schools were not included in the rankings because of the small class size.
Because the Fraser Institute rankings use only one standardized test conducted in two grades, McIntosh encourages families who want a truer picture of any school in the district to read the school’s plan.
“School plans share the goals of academic achievement based on broad assessments, not just one assessment,” said McIntosh. The plans also include other topics including social responsibility, citizenships, fine arts, and sports. “All the thing that really create the culture at the school.”
The FSA is just one of many assessment tools used by the school district, said McIntosh and she emphasized that they look at trends over time, not just at one year’s results.
For the complete Fraser Institute report see www.compareschoolrankings.org. To read over local school plans, see www.sd85.bc.ca and click on the “Education Services” link or ask any school principal for a copy of their school’s plan.