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Frank J. Mitchell scores well on report card

Frank J. Mitchell is a school that is improving and is one of the top 100 elementary schools in the province, according to the latest Fraser Institute report.

The “Report Cards,” released Monday, are published annually and rate schools’ academic performances from 2009 to 2010 based on the Foundation Skills Assessment tests. These tests assess students’ basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic in Grades 4 and 7.

Since the three elementary schools in the Elk Valley that were assessed do not have a grade 7, test results from students that have graduated on to secondary school were included in the calculations.

Out of the 875 schools included in the report, Frank J. Mitchell in Sparwood was ranked 98, Isabella Dicken in Fernie was ranked 474 and Rocky Mountain in Elkford was ranked 513.

“Rocky Mountain Elementary came out a little below average and Isabella Dicken’s results are fairly average,” said Peter Cowley, Director of School Performance Studies at the Fraser Institute.

“But Frank J. Mitchell seems to be on an upward trend. If we had data from last year for the school I think it would show a statistically significant improvement.”

Only Rocky Mountain Elementary School had available data from last year because the results are only considered valid if there were a large enough number of students in the group.

“If there are less than 15 students in the Grade 4 or 7 classes, we can’t use the data,” said Cowley.

Cowley said that Frank J. Mitchell’s results are particularly impressive since the average family income is lower than the other schools’.

“It is particularly significant when parental income is taken into account. The school’s results were 2.7 points higher than what we would expect to see based on the income of the parents.”

Parents’ average income at Frank J. Mitchell is $48,900. At Isabella Dicken it is $54,000 and at Rocky Mountain it is $73,500.

The overall rating for Frank J. Mitchell was 8.2 out of 10. For Isabella Dicken it was 5.7 out of 10 and for Rocky Mountain Elementary it was 5.5 out of 10.

The Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools 2011 rated 875 public and private elementary schools across the province based on 10 key indicators using data from the controversial province-wide testing, known as the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), mandated by the BC Ministry of Education.

The report card also includes key contextual information about each school, including the percentage of ESL students, percentage of special needs students, and parents’ average income. Results of the report card are available at

www.compareschoolrankings.org.

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