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Fraser Institute Rankings Spotlight Schools That Overcome Language Obstacles and Other Challenges

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 02/15/14 -- Despite personal and economic challenges, students can succeed in some schools, according to data from the Fraser Institute's annual school rankings.

The Report Card on Alberta's Elementary Schools 2014, released today, ranks 782 anglophone and francophone public, separate, private, and charter schools based on nine academic indicators from results of the annual Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) administered by Alberta Education.

"Parents have a role to play in school improvement. If, when they review a school's Fraser Institute rankings and notice that either the rankings are consistently low or there's little or no improvement, parents can and should ask their principals what's being done to improve results in the classroom," said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies.

In addition to the nine academic indicators, the Report Card also includes information about the personal and family characteristics of each school's students. It shows how, despite perceived barriers to learning, some schools are able to ensure their students success.

For example, at Meyokumin, a public school in Edmonton, student test scores remain high despite English being the second language for 77 per cent of students, one of the highest ESL percentages of all 782 ranked schools. The school posted an overall rating of 9.2 this year (compared to the 6.0 all-schools average) and a five-year average rating of 8.1, placing Meyokumin in the top nine per cent of schools overall.

Down Highway 2, two Calgary public schools, Edgemont (44.1 per cent ESL, 8.9 overall rating, 8.6 five-year average) and Glamorgan (44.3 per cent ESL, 8.3 overall rating, 7.7 five-year average) also rank well above the all-schools average despite a high ESL percentage.

Other perceived barriers to learning include a low parental income or special needs.

Yet despite an average parental income of $28,700, the third lowest income of all 782 ranked schools, Raymond Elementary, a public school in Raymond, a small town south of Lethbridge, posted an overall rating of 7.6 and a five-year average rating of 7.1. Moreover, 20.6 per cent of Raymond students are special needs.

What makes Raymond Elementary so successful? Educators across Alberta should be eager to find out.

"This is why the Fraser Institute Report Card is the go-to source for measuring academic performance. Parents across Alberta should ask their principals why schools like Raymond do so well, and what can be learned to help other schools improve," Cowley said.

For the complete results on all ranked schools and to easily compare schools, visit www.compareschoolrankings.org. Peter Cowley will be in Calgary and available to media on Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 86 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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