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Myrtle Philip above average in Fraser Institute’s report card

Comparison will mean more once Grade 4 students tested again in Grade 7, says principal

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Myrtle Philip Community School was the highest ranked elementary school in the district in the Fraser Institute’s annual assessment of the best schools in the province.

It was ranked 384 th out of the 1,054 schools included in this year’s Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools.

The school also scored higher than the B.C. average in overall rating, achieving a 6.8 compared to the 6.2 average.

And only 9.8 per cent of students were found to be performing below expectations. The provincial average is 17.3 per cent.

However, in each area looked at, numeracy, reading, and writing, Grade 4 students at the school got lower scores than last year.

The differences were not statistically significant though and Principal Ron Albertin said the change is hardly surprising as each cohort of students is different.

"The problem is you are comparing one year to the next year and they are different kids," he said.

"And if you are dealing with a small population and different kids then how valid is that?"

Albertin said the report card is just one way to measure a school but that he does not place too much emphasis on it.

It will become more valid, said Albertin when the Grade 4 students can be looked at again in Grade 7. That is just around the corner as Grade 7 students will be moving back to the elementary school next year.

"They will be our students and we can see how they have progressed and we can see whether we have managed to get more students meeting expectations or exceeding them," said Albertin.

"Then you can start to hang your hat on a few more things."

Albertin said he is generally pleased with the performance of the Grade 4 students but that the school is focused on getting more students into the "exceeding expectations" category in the coming years.

To achieve that the school will stay focused on its goals of numeracy, reading, literacy, and social responsibility.

The early literacy program underway at the school is a key component of that, said Albertin and more parent volunteers will be needed in the fall to help students.

"We are hoping that we will get a lot more students at an earlier age reaching those benchmarks through this program," he said.

The Fraser Institute report card measures school success based on average scores on the Grade 4 and Grade 7 Foundations Skills Assessment exams in reading, writing and numeracy.

Independent schools once again dominated the rankings of the best in the province, with St. George’s, Crofton House and York House coming out on top this year.

Peter Cowley, co-author of the report says it is a useful tool to help identify what is working in the school system.

"There is a great benefit in identifying schools that are particularly effective," he said.

"By comparing a school’s results with those of neighbouring schools, or of schools with similar characteristics, we can identify more successful schools and learn form them.

"Comparisons are the key to improvement."

In Squamish:

• Garibaldi Highlands School was ranked 441 st out of 1,054 with an overall rating of 6.6 and 14.6 per cent of students were found to be achieving below expectations.

• Mamquam was 545 out of 1,054 with a rating of 6.2 and 23 per cent were found to be achieving below expectations.

• Brackendale was 697 out of 1,054 with a rating of 5.5 and 20.7 per cent of students were found to be achieving below expectations.

•Stawamus was 720 out of 1,054 with an overall rating of 5.4 and 17 per cent of students were performing below expectations.

• Squamish was 963 out of 1,054 with a rating of 4.1 and 30.5 per cent of students performing below expectations.

In Pemberton, Signal Hill elementary was 785 out of 1,054 with a rating of 4.5 and 22.1 students performing below expectations.

To see complete results go to www.fraserinstitute.ca.

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