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Fraser Institute Ranks Academic Performance of 665 Alberta Elementary Schools; Education Minister Considers Denying Parents School Performance Data

(February 26, 2012)

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/26/12 -- The Fraser Institute today published its annual rankings of Alberta elementary schools, allowing parents to review the academic performance of their child's school over the past five years and compare it to that of other schools in their community.

But parents may lose the opportunity to compare schools if the Alberta government makes good on its threat to eliminate provincewide testing.

The Report Card on Alberta's Elementary Schools 2012 rates 665 public, private, separate, charter, and Francophone elementary schools across the province based on nine key indicators using data from the annual Provincial Achievement Tests (PAT), mandated by Alberta Education.

The report card also includes key contextual information about each school, including parents' average income, the percentage of ESL students, and the percentage of special needs students. Results of the report card are available in an interactive and searchable format or as a free PDF at www.compareschoolrankings.org.


"Our report card is the only objective, reliable tool that shows which schools across Alberta have improved, or fallen behind, in terms of math, science, social studies, and language arts over the past five years," said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies.

According to the rankings, the 20 Alberta elementary schools showing the fastest academic improvement over the past five years include nine public schools where parental incomes are below average. At one of these schools, ESL students account for 86.3 per cent of the total student population; at another, 44.3 per cent of students are special needs. The complete list follows.

"This shows that academic excellence is possible in every school, regardless of the personal and family circumstances of its student population. Without provincewide testing and the Fraser Institute report card, measuring academic improvement and identifying success stories like these would be impossible," Cowley said.

"But Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta's Minister of Education, doesn't want parents to be able to compare schools. That's a great disservice to parents, and most importantly, to Alberta's children."

Lukaszuk calls the Fraser Institute's school performance reports a "misuse" of provincial test results. He claims they mislead the public and he wants to redesign the tests so the Fraser Institute can no longer produce the reports.

"Our school performance reports are valid and used by many thousands of thoughtful parents each year. We believe that Alberta parents should have the right to decide how to use them," Cowley said.

"Allowing the public to see whether schools are getting better or worse in terms of academics is the only way to ensure that students' needs are being put first. We need provincewide testing to make sure that happens."

Top 20 Fastest-Improving Alberta Elementary Schools

-- Fr. M. Beauregard Elementary School (Separate), Fort McMurray -- Two Hills Mennonite Elementary School (Public), Two Hills -- Spruce View Elementary Schools (Public), Spruce View -- Mayland Heights Elementary School (Public), Calgary -- Forestburg Elementary School (Public), Forestburg -- Ecole Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoys (Francophone), Calgary -- St. Luke Elementary School (Separate), Calgary -- Meyokumin Elementary School (Public), Edmonton -- St. Anthony Elementary School (Separate), Drayton Valley -- St. Clare Elementary School (Separate), Calgary -- St. Paul Elementary School (Public), Ashmont -- New Sarepta Elementary School (Public), New Sarepta -- Caledonia Park Elementary School (Public), Leduc -- St. Gerard Elementary School (Separate), Grande Prairie -- Glamorgan Elementary School (Public), Calgary -- Mother Teresa Elementary School (Separate), Sylvan Lake -- Win Ferguson Elementary School (Public), Fort Saskatchewan -- St. Bernadette Elementary School (Separate), Edmonton -- Camille J. Lerouge Elementary School (Separate), Red Deer -- Westlock Elementary School (Public), Westlock

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The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational organization with locations across North America and partnerships in more than 80 countries. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

Contacts:
Fraser Institute - Media Contact
Peter Cowley
Director of School Performance Studies
Cell: (604) 789-0475
peter.cowley@fraserinstitute.org
Twitter: @JPeterCowley

Fraser Institute - Media Contact
Michael Thomas
Associate Director of School Performance Studies
Cell: (416) 399-1802
michael.thomas@fraserinstitute.org

Fraser Institute
Dean Pelkey
Director of Communications
(604) 714-4582
dean.pelkey@fraserinstitute.org
www.fraserinstitute.org


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