May, 2020

Alarming declines in performance for some B.C. secondary schools: Fraser Institute

A greater number of secondary schools in British Columbia have experienced declines in performance than have improved over the past four years, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual B.C. secondary schools rankings released on Saturday.

“Our annual report card reveals how schools perform year over year, so parents can quickly see if there are problems that must be corrected,” said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute.

The Report Card on British Columbia’s Secondary Schools, 2017 ranks 293 public and independent secondary schools based on seven academic indicators using student results from annual provincewide exams, grade-to-grade transition rates, and graduation rates.

While this year’s report card shows 27 schools have improved their overall rating over the past four years, a greater number of schools—33—have declining ratings over the same period.

And some of the drops in performance are dramatic.

For example, MacKenzie Secondary, near Prince George, had the fastest decline in the province falling from an overall rating of 5.2 out of 10 in 2012 to just 0.3 out of 10 in this year’s report.

Barriere Secondary School, near Kamloops, dropped from 5 to 1.7 over the same four-year period and Nanaimo’s Wellington Secondary declined from an overall rating of 5.2 to 2.6 out of 10.

But other schools—including schools with relatively high numbers of ESL and special needs students—have improved their ratings.

For example, Semiahmoo Secondary in Surrey, which has 15.3 per cent ESL students, has improved every year over the past four years, from an overall rating of 7 out of 10 in 2012 to 7.9 in 2016.

And while many improving schools are in the Lower Mainland, schools in Terrace, Sechelt, Fort Nelson, Grand Forks and Summerland also improved their ratings since 2012.

“Parents with children at schools with declining results or consistent low performance should ask the principal to explain the school’s plan to turn those poor results into greater student success,” Cowley said.

“And principals at these schools would do well to consult with their colleagues at improving schools and learn how they accomplished their turnarounds,” Cowley said.

For the complete results on all ranked schools, and to easily compare the performance of different schools,

10 fastest declining secondary schools in B.C. (fastest at the top)

School Location

Overall rating in 2012

(out of 10)

Overall rating in 2016

(out of 10)

MacKenzie Prince George



Nakusp Arrow Lakes



Barriere Kamloops



Charles Bloom Vernon



Hazelton Coast Mountains



St. John Brebeuf Abbotsford



D. P. Todd Prince George



Wellington Nanaimo-Ladysmith



Sa-Hali Kamloops



Ladysmith Nanaimo-Ladysmith




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