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Most Northeast B.C. high schools near the bottom of Fraser Institute’s annual report card

North Peace Secondary School. Google Streetview photo.
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VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Fraser Institute released its annual Report Card on British Columbia’s Secondary Schools today, which shows that high schools in Northeast B.C. and indeed most of Northern B.C. are lagging behind schools on the South Coast.

This year’s Report Card ranks 253 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. Of the top 50 schools in the ranking, 27 are independent schools and 23 are public schools, located in 26 different communities across the province.

North Peace Secondary School was the lone secondary school in School District #60 that was ranked by the think-tank, placing 227th out of 253. In the South Peace, Dawson Creek Secondary School saw one of the biggest improvements in its rating by the Fraser Institute, jumping from an average rating of 3.6 in the last five years to 6.0. DCSS placed 131st on this year’s ranking, while Chetwynd Secondary School finished third from last place, at the 250th spot. Fort Nelson Secondary School was also near the bottom of the list, ranking 242nd.

A graph showing the Fraser Institutes ratings of four high schools in Northeast B.C. over the past five years. Photo by The Fraser Institute.

“All too often, we hear excuses that public schools can’t compete with independent schools because of the communities and students that they serve, but that’s just not true—every school can improve and strive to rank higher than the year before,” said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute.

This year, the Fraser Institute said that 34 schools showed statistically significant declines in performance over the past four years, while an equal number showed statistically significant improvement.

Notably, of the top 10 fastest-improving schools, six are located outside the Lower Mainland in Kitimat, Princeton, Prince Rupert, Trail, Terrace and Kamloops. Only one of the top 10 fastest-improving schools is located in Vancouver.

“This Report Card proves that improvement is possible in every corner of the province, in every type of school serving every type of student,” Cowley said. “Parents should use this Report Card every year to assess how their child’s school is doing, and when necessary, ask the principal how he or she plans to turn things around.”

For the complete results on all ranked schools, and to easily compare the performance of different schools, visit www.compareschoolrankings.org.

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