Goodsoil Central School principal Russell Moore said he didn’t pay much attention to a report that ranked his school fifth out of 178 high schools in Saskatchewan.
Goodsoil Central School, which teaches kindergarten to Grade 12, got an A in the 1st Annual Report Card on Western Canadian High Schools, beating out all other high schools in the North West School Division.
“I don’t put a lot of credibility in this study,” said Moore. “There’s a whole bunch of things that go into the teaching of students.”
The authors of the report, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, said the document is meant to make schools better.
“Many governments collect this information but do not make it publicly available or do not present it in a manner that is easily understood,” the report said.
The report, which excludes independent schools, collected data from the 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years and calculated three averages.
The in-context grade considers how the school should perform against how it actually performs. It factors in things like the size of the high school, teacher/student ratio, level of teacher training, student performance prior to entering high school and the demographics of the surrounding community. The grade levels the playing field so disadvantaged schools can better compete with advantaged schools.
The absolute grade considers academic achievement and academic engagement. The former looks at average marks in math, science, language arts and humanities as well as achievement in secondary studies or training.
Academic engagement looks at attendance, grade to grade graduation rates, enrolment in math and language arts courses that enable enrolment in post-secondary education, and participation in post-secondary education.
The third grade is the average of the overall in-context grade and overall absolute grade.
Goodsoil Central School had 50 high school students and a pupil-teacher ratio of 13. The school scored A+ in both the provincial math exam and provincial language arts exam. Its score for overall engagement was A- and overall achievement, A+.
Moore has taught at Goodsoil Central School for five years. When asked why he thought his school did so well, he said the students and staff were “terrific.”
“Most of our kids participate in extracurricular activities. A lot of the students are related to each other.”
Grade 12 student Brooke Schamber, whose two sisters attend Goodsoil, said most of the teachers have been there for a long time.
“They know how to explain it differently to each student,” she said.
The other high schools in the North West School Division – Carpenter, Hillmond, Maidstone, Hardcastle, Lashburn, Maidstone and Turtleford – had a grade of B-.
The top ranked school in the province was Englefeld School and the bottom ranked school was Balcarres School.