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Whistler Secondary gets high score on Fraser Institute report card



Whistler Secondary Community School continues to score well on the controversial Fraser Institute’s annual report card for B.C.’s secondary schools.

This year Whistler’s high school was tied for third place among public schools for this region.

If private schools were added in Whistler Secondary tied for 10th place in the region.

"It is nice to be top, definitely, said Principal Bev Oakley.

But she is also cautious about the report as it only looks at one aspect of the school

"The danger of something like the Fraser Institute (report) is that it is a snapshot and it doesn’t reflect trends over time," she said.

Claremont Secondary School in Victoria was ranked first, with Mount Douglas Senior Secondary in Victoria second. Gulf Islands Secondary on Saltspring Island tied for third with Whistler.

Whistler Secondary’s overall rating was 7.7 again this year. In 2002 it was 6.4. It ranked 43 rd out of 279 schools with an average ranking of 55 th over five years.

The provincial average is 6.2.

"That 7.7 is a remarkably good score when you realize that it puts you in the top 20 per cent of schools in the province," said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute.

"It is a fairly rarified atmosphere that Whistler finds itself in.

"Since 1999 the school has pretty well knocked in half the percentage of exams failed and I think that is a very important indicator because that is really a basic thing.

"Your kids should be able to take these courses and pass them. This says: ‘We are mindful of everybody in the class and we make sure that at the least everybody can pass an objective assessment.’

"And that is very positive."

The Fraser Institute rankings remain controversial and stir up debate every year when they are released.

Not only is there the issue of class and school size when it comes to Whistler there is also the on-going criticism that the rankings do not take into consideration anything except Grade 12 exam results.

For each school eight different indicators of school performance are measured by the Fraser Institute.

• Average provincial examination mark.

• Percentage of provincial examinations failed.

• The difference between the school mark and examination mark in provincially examinable courses.

• The difference in performance between male and female students in English 12.

• The difference in performance between male and female students in Math 12.