Abbotsford schools jump forward on Fraser rankings

District performs better on annual Fraser Institute list.

Abbotsford school district superintendent Kevin Godden.

Abbotsford school district superintendent Kevin Godden.

The quality of education is improving at Abbotsford schools, suggest the latest elementary school rankings by the Fraser Institute.

The conservative think tank uses results from the annual provincial Grade 4 Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) to rank private and public elementary schools across B.C.

Abbotsford, a traditionally lower-scoring district, has six schools in the top 100 this year, compared with just three last year.

“I’m not surprised, given our Superintendent’s Report, that our schools are doing better,” said superintendent Kevin Godden.

The December report noted that while 33 per cent of kids enter the school system as vulnerable students, 90 per cent of all students come out with their Dogwood.

On the 2012/13 Fraser Institute rankings, the most dramatic jump forward was by Bradner Elementary, whose latest rank of 23 out of 979 in the province is far ahead of its 104 of 853 rank the year prior.

Next highest ranking is Mennonite Educational Institute, which sits at 53rd for 2012/13, up from 62nd in 2011/12.

Auguston Traditional and Mt. Lehman are tied at 61st this year. That’s a drop from 44th last year for Auguston. Mt. Lehman wasn’t included in the 2011/12 list.

Rounding out the schools in the top 100 this year are King Traditional and Sandy Hill.

The lowest-ranking schools in the district are Alexander Elementary (936th) and Blue Jay Elementary (649th).

District superintendent Kevin Godden cautioned that the test sample at some schools, such as Bradner, is so small that results may vary greatly year to year.

“At Grade 4, there can’t be more than 20 kids (in Bradner). The results could just as easily fall next time,” he said.

Same goes for Alexander and Blue Jay, whose results may be low this year but may change quickly in future years. Nevertheless, the schools are on the superintendent’s radar.

“There are higher indicators of risk, and it’s our responsibility to act on that, to put the resources in place to respond to those risks,” he said.

It is more interesting to look at year-over-year results on a district level, Godden added. That analysis is provided online by the Ministry of Education.

“What you do want to see is a steady improvement of the average.”

Internally, the Abbotsford district tracks cohorts of students across years to see how they perform. The Fraser Institute, meanwhile, compares different individual students every year.