Rural high schools top Sask. ranking: report

Many of Saskatchewan's small, rural high schools ranked higher than their counterparts in the larger cities, a new study of 283 schools indicates.
A report from the Atlantic Institute and the Frontier Centre looked at the performance of 283 schools in Saskatchewan. ((CBC))
Many of Saskatchewan's small, rural high schools ranked higher than their counterparts in the larger cities, a new study of 283 schools indicates.

A small Protestant system school east of Saskatoon, Englefeld School, got an A+ and was ranked No. 1 in the province, according to the Report Card on Western Canadian High Schools report released Monday.

Also getting A+ ratings were high school programs in Lake Lenore, northeast of Saskatoon and Glentworth, in the southwest.

In contrast, none of the English-language high schools in Regina or Saskatoon ranked higher than 40th place or scored better than a B. (A francophone high school, ECF pavillion secondaire, finished in 10th place with a grade of A-)

Top 5 ranked schools

 RankSchoolGrade
 1.  EnglefeldA+
 2.Lake LenoreA+
 3.GlentworthA+ 
 4.33 Central (Fillmore)
 5.Goodsoil SchoolA

Source: Atlantic Institute/Frontier Centre

The report was written by the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) and the Prairie-based Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Based on school data from the provincial government from 2005 to 2008, it looks at attendance, graduation, and participation in post-secondary education, school marks and provincial exam results.

The raw data was then adjusted to take into account such factors as pupil-teacher ratios and the socio-economic status of the surrounding areas, said David Seymour, a policy analyst with the Frontier Centre.

That Englefeld School came out No. 1 may be a statistical blip, but it appears to be part of a trend, Seymore said.

Bottom 5 ranked schools

RankSchoolGrade
178.BalcarresD
177.Rossignol High (Ile A La Crosse)D
176.Charlebois Community (Cumberland House )D
175.Carnduff Education ComplexD
174.Minahik Waskahigan (Pinehouse)C-

Source: Atlantic Institute/Frontier Centre

"A disproportionate number of smaller schools seem to have done better in this ranking," Seymour said. "It may well be there's something about how those schools operate."

The report noted that only 179 of the 283 schools were included in the ranking. The other 105 were not ranked because there wasn't enough data provided. 

Education Minister Donna Harpauer questioned the methodology of the report and said it would have "limited value" to the Education Ministry, which is putting out its own school "Indicators" report in December.

"I'm very happy to see that ... most schools are As and Bs," she said of the Frontier Centre/Atlantic Institute report. "What I would assume is that the ministry will look at those schools that ranked lower and see if there are specific situations that are happening within those schools."

It may be that high schools in Regina and Saskatoon are not top rated because they deal with more diverse populations than some of the rural schools, she said. Harpauer also noted that one of the high scoring schools had a secondary enrollment of less than 20 students.

The report also looked at Manitoba schools, but in that case, the province didn't provide the data on individual schools that was requested.

"The [Manitoba] report is basically a blank sheet," Seymour said. "Saskatchewan has been fairly willing to disclose the information."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said no high schools in Regina or Saskatoon ranked higher than 40th place. In fact, a francophone high school, ECF pavillion secondaire, finished in 10th place with a grade of A-
    Oct 12, 2013 10:20 PM CT