February 7, 2011 by readlisaread
Well. Today was the day British Columbians were gifted from on high, the day the Fraser Institute blessed us with the treasure that is their statistics. Today we learned which schools in BC were the best (ie, performed the highest on Standardized Tests) and which sucked. Of course, if you suck, the Fraser Institute is quick to reassure you that it is not really about the sucking, it’s about working towards sucking less next year.
So, not surprisingly, all the schools in the top 10 were private schools. I went off on one earlier this year about the suggestion that teachers receive merit pay based on their achievement. But don’t worry! The Fraser Institute was quick to commend a public school, flailing about near the bottom of the list, which had raised its test scores several percent over last year, and the Institute was quick to point out that socio-ecomomic status of that school was low–most families in the 22-26K bracket. Jeez, thanks for pointing that out and naming that school in the News. I’m sure they feel super-duper about themselves now.
But wait, there’s more.
A surprise placement, a first time in the Top 10. The school located in the Polygamous Community of Bountiful. Stellar test scores. Unfortunately, they also have one of the lowest graduation rates in the Province, and have particularly abysmal results for girls, who are steered away from Math and Sciences and instead take a lot of Domestic Sciences. Like cooking for your husband (“Make Tuesday Nights Count 101”). The other part of this is of course the Magic of Statistics. Let’s say Bountiful achieved test scores in the 97th percentile. Those are calculated from the yearly grade 4 and grade 7 FSAs. The whole of Bountiful school is about 100 kids. Even if they included both the grade 4s and 7s, that would still only be, well, let’s put this in a non-numerical way: Mary, John, Johnny, Jacob and Lotty-Mae. (Ezekial was absent that week with tonsillitis). So, yeah, numbers don’t lie, but they sure can be misleading…..
I’d laugh if it wasn’t so tragic.