WILLIAMSTOWN, Ontario – The Fraser Institute’s annual high school rankings has placed Char-Lan District High School in Williamstown at the top amongst its peers in the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB).
The Fraser Institue rated Char-Lan at 7.7 out of 10 for academic quality, that is nearly a full point of improvement over last year’s score.
When looking at the wider picture of high schools across Ontario, Char-Lan ranks 104 out of 740.
Key academic indicators used by the Fraser Institue in its evaluation of Ontario’s high schools were the results of the Grade 9 mathematics standardized test and the Grade 10 literacy test.
The next closest ranked school in the Cornwall and SD&G area is Holy Trinity Catholic School in the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario. Holy Trinity is ranked 187 out of 740 with a score of 7.2 out of 10.
The UCDSB has previously stated that the Fraser Institute’s methodology for ranking schools leaves out important factors, which is something that UCDSB Director of Education Stephen Sliwa addressed when the Institute released its ranking of elementary schools back in November.
“There is no evidence to show that ranking schools improves student learning; nor does it offer a precise understanding of exactly where improvement efforts should be directed," Sliwa said in a statement on the UCDSB website. "It is more accountable and useful to use data that measures achievement on a student-by-student basis. EQAO test results provide useful information on which to base strategies to improve our learning programs, but it is unfair and misleading to compare schools based only on these scores. Our school board and schools have adopted a vigorous improvement planning process based on provincial assessment results, and through surveys administered at the district and school level. These practices allow the board and our schools to direct attention and resources to student learning needs."
The Fraser Institute, a Canadian research think tank, however defends its methodology and its reasoning behind ranking schools.
"The act of publicly rating and ranking schools attracts attention, and this can provide motivation.," the Institute stated. "Schools that perform well or show consistent improvement are applauded. Poorly performing schools generate concern, as do those whose performance is deteriorating. This inevitable attention provides an incentive for all those connected with a school to focus on student results."