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Report ranks academic performance of Ontario’s secondary schools

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Report ranks academic performance of Ontario’s secondary schools

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The Fraser Institute released its annual report card on the academic performance of 689 Ontario secondary schools on Thursday, one of the few tools parents have to compare the quality of education in high schools across the province.

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The results can be found at www.compareschoolrankings.org.

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Based on eight academic indicators calculated from province-wide testing presided over by Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office, the report card compares most of the province’s public, Catholic and independent secondary schools on a ranking system where a perfect score is 10.

“Our report cards offer parents information they can’t easily get anywhere else, about how their child’s school performs and how it compares to other schools in Ontario,” said study co-author Peter Cowley in the fiscally conservative think tank’s, “Report Card on Ontario’s Secondary Schools 2023.”

“It doesn’t matter where a school is ranked, or what challenges its students may face. The evidence is clear — all types of schools  … with different types of students, are all capable of improvement.”

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The Fraser Institute’s annual report card on the academic performance of almost 4,000 Ontario elementary schools was released in March.

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Based on the latest data, the study says the top 10 high schools (including ties) in Ontario in terms of academic performance are the Khalsa Community School in Brampton (with a score of 10), followed by Colonel By Secondary School in Gloucester (9.5); Ursula Franklin Academy in Toronto (9.3); St. Augustine Catholic High School in Markham (9.2); St. Robert Catholic High School in Thornhill (9.2); London Central Secondary School in London (9.2); North Toronto Collegiate Institute in Toronto (9.1); St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School in Richmond Hill (9.0); Earl of March Secondary School in Kanata (9.0); Ecole secondaire publique L’Equinoxe in Pembroke (9.0) and Oakville Trafalgar High School in Oakville (9.0).

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The report card can also be used to compare the performance of high schools in the same educational district to find those achieving the best academic performance.

Many educators have criticized the Fraser Institute’s annual report cards on schools as simplistic, misleading and failing to take into account the demographics and income levels of the communities that surround them.

But the Fraser Institute says a parent’s choice of any school for their child should not be based solely on its annual report card, which specifically measures academic performance based on EQAO testing, not the overall educational experience a school provides, including programs and activities not covered in its report card.

Another important factor, the report card says, is whether a school’s academic performance is improving or deteriorating over time.

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For example, it cites Englehart High School in northeast Ontario as one of the province’s fastest-improving schools on academic performance — increasing from a score of 2.2 in 2016 to 6.5 in 2022.

It also credits École secondaire Toronto Ouest in Toronto for rapidly increasing its academic ranking from 4.9 in 2016 to 8.5 today, in a school where 13.7% of its students have special needs.

The Fraser Institute report recommends parents also consult the EQAO website, Ontario’s education ministry, school boards and parents with a child already attending a school they are thinking of having their child attend, to get their input.

That said, the report notes: “It will come as no great surprise to experienced parents and educators that the data consistently suggest that what goes on in the schools makes a difference to academic results, and that some schools make a greater difference than others.”

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