The Fraser Institute once again ranked Mulgrave number one in the province in its annual BC Elementary Schools Report Card released earlier this week. Although we are flattered, the Fraser Institute knows nothing about our school. Furthermore, the conceptual and statistical framework of its ranking system is deeply flawed, highly contentious and roundly discredited. For a detailed explanation of the shortcomings of its methodology and its egregious misuse of data, please read my previous blog post.
The Fraser Institute uses data from the provincial Foundation Skills Assessments (FSAs) mandated by the Ministry of Education in Grades 4 and 7. The FSAs are comprised of tests in reading, writing and math that include a combination of on-line multiple choice and open-response questions. The value of the FSAs to Mulgrave is the internal data they provide as we gauge our own strategic progress in developing core numeracy and literacy skills. To see that our results in grade 4, for example, are collectively the best in the province provides us with more substantive evidence of success than some made-up ranking.
There are far better measures of school quality than capricious rankings. Mulgrave's recent successful accreditations from the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Council of International schools (CIS) are prime examples. Both of these accrediting bodies employ rigourous standards for teaching and learning that far exceed provincial expectations. The article, Truth, A Hint of Hubris and the IB Evaluation, published last week, detailed the outstanding results of our IB evaluation – 105 commendations versus 15 recommendations. This is truly exemplary and something to be celebrated, a far more meaningful accomplishment than being ranked number one. The CIS evaluation was similarly positive, with over 50 commendations against 15 recommendations. This ratio again represents an outstanding quality of education.
We trust that parents at Mulgrave appreciate the limits and pitfalls of rankings. We also trust that they recognise that the learning and daily experience of their children at Mulgrave is far more complex than what can be captured in a single-score ranking. We know through our experience "What Truly Makes a School Great".
-Gordon MacIntyre, Deputy Head of School