Hamilton-area elementary schools among top — and bottom — of Ontario rankings: report
The Islamic School of Hamilton ranked first in the city with a 9.9 score
A Canadian think tank released its often-controversial ranking of elementary schools in Ontario on Sunday, and Hamilton-area schools can be found both at the top and the bottom of the rankings.
The Fraser Institute's 16th annual "Report Card on Ontario's Elementary Schools" examined the performance of 3,046 schools based on nine academic indicators. The indicators are derived from students' scores on standardized tests in reading, writing and math.
Each school is then assigned an overall rating out of 10.
Sixteen schools across the province managed to score a perfect 10, though none of them were in the Hamilton area. Schools that came close were:
- The Islamic School of Hamilton with a 9.9
- St. Ann Catholic Elementary in St. Catharines, 9.2
- Holy Name of Mary in Ancaster, 9.0
- John T Tuck in Burlington, 9.0
- E. I. McCulley in St. Catharines, 8.9
- Corpus Christi in Hamilton, 8.9
- Glendale in Welland, 8.9
- St. Paul Elementary in Stoney Creek, 8.9
- Park Elementary in Grimsby, 8.8
- Renaissance Elementary, 8.8
Conversely, there were also area schools at the bottom of the pile, such as:
- Valley Way in Niagara Falls with a 3.2
- Dr. J Edgar Davey in Hamilton, 3.1
- W.H. Ballard in Hamilton, 3.1
- Memorial (city) in Hamilton, 2.7
- Pavillion de la Jeunesse, 2.7
"This report is directed at parents," said Peter Cowley, a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute who focuses on school performance studies, in a previous interview.
Cowley co-authored the report along with Angela MacLeod, a senior policy analyst at the think tank.
"What we're doing here is answering a question that is of great importance to parents: in general, how is a school doing in academics versus others in the neighbourhood, others in the school district?" he said in an interview.
Critics of the Fraser Institute's rankings argue the report relies too heavily on the results of standardized tests, painting an incomplete portrait of a school's overall performance and value to its students.
"They're not objective at all," Jason Price, a professor at the University of Victoria's Curriculum and Instruction Department told the CBC in April 2018.
"For me, the problem becomes that they recognize such a narrow data collection."
Cowley admits the system is "imperfect" and does not "tell the story of everything that goes on at a school." But he adds that Ontario's ministry of education doesn't take any measures of school performance that aren't considered in the report.
"There are schools that are doing an extraordinary job. They can be identified. That's what this report does," Cowley said.
"I fundamentally reject the idea that if you don't have all the measures you think you need, then you don't do anything."