WCSS hits Top 50 in Fraser Institute provincial high school rankings

WEST CARLETON – West Carleton Secondary School (WCSS) finished in the top 50 of the Fraser Institute’s annual rankings of Ontario’s high schools.

The rural school near Dunrobin finished 42 out of 739 Catholic, public and French language high schools in the province.

The school received an 8.2 score out of 10 in 2019, well above the average score of six. Having said that, like many Ontario schools, the score was a step back from its 8.8 score in 2018 – a score that was a five year high for WCSS. In 2017 WCSS scored 8.7, 8.8 in 2016 and 8.5 in 2015.

In 2019, 84.6 per cent of eligible WCSS students passed the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in their first attempt in Grade 10. That was down from three years of over a 90 per cent pass rate.

Only 11.8 per cent of those who took the OSSLT and Grade 9 mathematics test were below standards. That number is up from 8.6 per cent in 2018. While WCSS took a step back in 2019 compared to previous Fraser Institute school rankings, when compared to its provincial peers, the school did very well.

The Fraser Institute released its annual rankings of Ontario secondary schools yesterday (May 24), and the findings show that more Ontario high schools declined in performance in 2019 than those that improved.

The Report Card on Ontario’s Secondary Schools 2020, the most accessible tool for parents to compare the academic performance of the province’s schools, ranks 733 anglophone and francophone public and Catholic schools (and a small number of independent and First Nations schools) based on nine academic indicators derived from annual provincewide reading, writing and math tests.

“The report card offers parents information they can’t easily get anywhere else, about how their child’s school performs over time and compares to other schools across Ontario,” Fraser Institute senior fellow Peter Cowley said.

This year, 73 schools around the province experienced declining performance, while 47 schools showed improvement.

But contrary to common misconceptions, the data suggest every school is capable of improvement regardless of where it’s located, where it ranks or the students it serves.

For example, Great Fort Erie Secondary School in the Niagara region was one of the top five fastest improving schools in the province last year (rising from a score of 3.6 out of 10 in 2015 to 6.8 in 2019) despite 26.7 per cent of its students having special needs.

Similarly, over the same period, École secondaire Hanmer, a French-language high school north of Sudbury that ranks 658 out of 733 this year, is the third-fastest improver across the entire province and has improved its rating from 0 to 3.7 from 2015 to 2019.

“We often hear excuses that some schools can’t improve student performance because of the communities and students they serve, but all over Ontario, there are schools with students facing significant challenges that still find ways to improve,” Cowley said.

For the complete results on all ranked schools and to compare the performance of different schools, visit www.compareschoolrankings.org.