Frequently asked questions

1. Q: Why are some schools not in the report card?
A: Not all schools can be rated and ranked. Here are the minimum requirements necessary for a school to be included in the ranking:
British Columbia Elementary Schools
    a) There must be at least 10 students enrolled at the school in grade 4.
    b) There must be 1) at least 10 students enrolled at the school in grade 7 or, 2) for schools that do not have grade 7 classes, at least 10 students enrolled at other schools in grade 7 who were enrolled at the school when they were in grade 4.
    c) We must receive from the ministry of education test results data that are related to at least 10 of the students described in a) and b) for each of the six provincewide tests: grade 4 reading, grade 4 writing, grade 4 math, grade 7 reading, grade 7 writing and grade 7 math.
    The following types of elementary schools are not included in the British Columbia elementary school rankings::
       i. Schools that do not have grade 4 classes. They are not included because we don’t receive any grade 4 test results for these schools and, as a result, we do not have enough test results data to fairly rate the school.
       ii. Very small schools that do not meet the requirements in a), b), and c) above.
British Columbia Secondary Schools
    a) There must be at least 10 students enrolled at the school in grade 12.
    b) We must receive from the ministry of education provincewide test results data related to at least 10 students in grade 10 level English or French; math, and science, grade 11 social studies 11, and grade 12 English or French.
    The following types of secondary schools are not included in the British Columbia secondary school rankings:
       i. Secondary schools that do not enroll students in grades 10, 11, or 12.
       ii. Very small schools that do not meet the requirements in a) and b) above.
2. Q: Where can I get results for schools not in the report card?
A: The ministry of education provides data regarding school, district, and provincial performance on its results page.
3. Q: Should I choose a school based on these results alone?
A: No. The rankings reflect how the school is doing academically compared to the others in the report card. But there are lots of other aspects of a school and its programs that you may wish to consider. You can get a better idea about what the school will offer your child by visiting the school’s web site and by talking to the principal, teachers, and other parents.
4. Q: Does the report card take into account the fact that some schools try to improve their ratings by encouraging lower performing kids not to take the exams?
A: Wherever possible we design the report card to discourage exclusion of any students from the assessments. In British Columbia, the elementary school reports include an indicator that displays the percentage of tests that could have been written, but that were not written.
5. Q: Why does the website show five years of results for most schools?
A: The report cards provide five years of results for each of the indicators of school performance and for the overall rating out of 10. This provides a more useful picture of how the school has performed and how it might perform in the future. In addition, the Trend indicator shows whether the school’s results are improving, declining, or just staying steady.
6. Q: What is the overall rating based on?
A: In British Columbia, the elementary school ratings are based on provincewide test results in reading, writing, and math. These tests are written by students in grade 4 and in grade 7.
The secondary school ratings are based on provincewide test results in language arts, math, and science during grade 10, 11, and 12.
7. Q: Should I consider an Overall Rating below 6 out of ten a failure?
A: No. The rating is designed to have an average value of 6. The school’s rating does not reflect a pass or fail. It simply reflects how far above or below the average of all the rated schools it is performing.
8. Q: Do you report results in the same way that provincial ministry of education does?
A: Each school’s results are based on data provided to us by British Columbia’s ministry of education. However, we may display some of the results in different ways than does the ministry. We do this to make the results as useful as possible to parents and educators.
9. Q: In the report cards why is there an “n/a” reported for some results?
A: Where insufficient data are available for the calculation of an indicator, overall rating, or trend measure, an “n/a” appears in the tables.
10. Q: What does it mean that the report card's results are relative?
A: This means that each school is rated relative to every other school in the report card. So, an overall rating of 10 out of ten doesn’t mean the school’s performance was perfect. It simply means that it performed better than any other school in the report card.
11. Q: Why don’t the report cards include indicators of school performance in areas like trades training, physical education, the fine arts, and development of good citizenship skills?
A: Unfortunately, the school system in British Columbia only produces measures of school-by-school academic performance. If results in other areas were available, we would likely include them in our report card.
12. Q: Is it true that for small schools just a couple of poor exam results can negatively affect the school's overall rating?
A: Yes. In a given year, ratings for smaller schools can be significantly affected either for better or worse by the results of a small number of students. That’s why — particularly when considering the performance of smaller schools — you should consider all the historical results so that you have a better picture of how the school has performed over time.
13. Q: When are the report cards published each year?
A: The report cards are updated as soon as possible after new data become available. We are unable to provide exact publishing dates but, the British Columbia elementary updates usually occur in February or March with the secondary updates made in late April or May.
14. Q: Does the Fraser Institute prepare and/or administer the exams the report cards are based on?
A: No. The Fraser Institute does not prepare or administer exams of any kind. We use the results of ministry of education tests to produce our indicators, ratings, and rankings.






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