Breaking private school grip

Three public schools in the West Vancouver school system have broken the stranglehold enjoyed by private schools in the Fraser Institute's annual B.C. schools report card.

The controversial report uses average scaled Foundational Skills Assessments test scores from Grade 4 students at 955 elementary schools across the province.

Cedardale and West Bay elementary schools in West Vancouver both pulled an overall rating of 10 out of 10, joining 17 private and independent schools with a perfect score.

Irwin Park, another West Vancouver public school, came in with a score of 9.8.

Teachers and administrators have panned the report over the years, calling the system flawed.

Central Okanagan School District Supt. Kevin Kaardal said after last year's report many teachers don't take them seriously because the data is misused in this ranking format.

The percentage of students not taking the test is also factored in as a negative.

Okanagan schools finished well down in the Fraser Institute rankings.

Aberdeen Hall in Kelowna was the highest rated school in the Valley, with a score of 9, while Holy Cross in Penticton and Our Lady of Lourdes in West Kelowna both had scores of 8.9. The top school in the Vernon region was St. James, with a score of 8.

Okanagan Falls was the highest ranked public school in the Okanagan with a score of 7.4.

Anne McClymont was the top rated public school in the Central Okanagan with a score of 6.8, while the top school in the North Okanagan was Beairsto in Vernon at 6.5.

Responding to criticism that some schools are not capable of improving their scores, officials with the Fraser Institute point to Armstrong Elementary, which showed a "significant improvement in reading, writing and math."

Its score rose from 1.9 in 2014 to 6.1 in this latest report card.

"We often hear excuses in B.C. that schools can't improve student performance because of the communities and students they serve, but the evidence suggests otherwise," said senior policy analyst Angela MacLeod.

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