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Alarming declines in some BC secondary school performances

Last Updated May 13, 2017 at 7:35 am PST

(iStock Photo)

Number of secondary schools in decline exceeds the number that have improved

Parents encouraged to ask questions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Research from the Fraser Institute has found concerning declines in performance for some secondary schools in British Columbia.

The right-leaning think tank has released its annual report card of the nearly 300 public and independent secondary schools in the province. Using results from annual province-wide exams, grade-to-grade transitions rates and graduations rates, it finds the number of secondary schools in decline (33) exceeds the number that have improved their overall rating (27).

Peter Cowley is Director of School Performance Studies with the Fraser Institute. He says the fastest decline was in Mackenzie Secondary School near Prince George, which went from 5.2 out of 10 in 2011-12, to just 0.3 out of 10 in 2015-16.

Burnaby Mountain Secondary also recorded one of the biggest declines.

“Back in 2011-12, they got a 6.9 out of 10, which is a fair deal above average and that slipped. In 2015-16 they’re well below average at 5.5.

But Cowley points out it’s not all bad news.

“Right here in Vancouver there are more improving schools than in any other area.”

Semiahmoo Secondary in Surrey, which has 15.3 per cent ESL students, has improved every year over the past four years, from an overall rating of 7 out of 10 in 2012 to 7.9 in 2016.

Cowley says concerned parents can play their part.

“For parents, who are by far the largest audience of the report card, there is something they can do when a school is declining and that is make sure that they get to the parent council meetings and ask the important questions.”

“First, why does the principal think that the results are declining. Second, what is it that they plan to change that trend around and get that school’s results going in an upward direction.”