Feb. 14, 2017

Rankings have an important message for Nanaimo schools


By Merv Unger

02/14 - The annual ranking of schools by the Fraser Institute is not good news for anybody, regardless whether you agree with the grading system.

No matter where you sit, the numbers tell us something, that there are problem areas.

In Nanaimo, Aspengrove private school is rated in the top 100 schools in the province, but the remaining schools rank 300th and lower, the bottom two thirds of the entire list.

But that does not need to be the focus, a more telling analysis is the rating of the schools compared to their five-year average. Are they improving or deteriorating? That compares those schools against their own yardstick.

On as scale of 1-10, Quarterway school showed a significant improvement to 6.7 from the five-year average of 5.7. Aspengrove stumbled to 8 compared to the five-year average of 8.8.

Statistics can prove almost anything one desires, but even the opponents of this grading system should take a look at the numbers to see if they could learn something from the results. When the range goes from a high of 8.0 to a low of 1.5 (a 15-per-cent rating) there is a problem. The job is to determine what that problem is. Nanaimo public schools ranged from a top rank of 300th in the province to a low of 943rd out of a total of 956 schools. The important question has to look at the range of an 80-per-cent rating to a low of 15 per cent.

No matter what anyone thinks of the grading system, that disparity at the local level needs to be looked at. Don’t dismiss the numbers outright based on philosophical reasons.

To view the Nanaimo numbers, please go to:


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