The Fraser Institute released rankings for schools in the province and elementary schools on the West Shore ranked on the lower end of the spectrum.
There are 10 factors that are taken into account for the ranking system and one of them is the number of students that take the voluntary test.
The report card key created by the Fraser Institute explains if more students write the test it “shows that the school community understands the benefits of full participation in the foundation skills assessment.”
The Sooke School District doesn’t require everyone write the test because it can be stressful for some students, according to Lindsay Vogan, SD62 spokesperson.
The district sends a letter home with students notifying them and their parents of the test and that they can opt out of the test if they so choose.
Vogan said the letter to parents is neutral and doesn’t try to encourage or discourage students from writing the tests.
But many do opt out of the test in SD62. For example, at Ruth King Elementary school 72 per cent of students opted out of the standardized test, and this affects the scores. Hans Helgesen Elementary school only had 31 per cent of students opt out of the test and they ranked significantly higher than Ruth King.
Looking beyond the rankings, some of the schools in the district are seeing upward trends over the past five years. For example, the Grade 4 average numeracy score at Hans Helgesen is on an upward trend, as is the the number of students that performed above expectations.
Happy Valley sees an upward trend in Grade 4 numeracy and Grade 7 writing over the past five years as well.
But the school district doesn’t take the ranking results to heart because it’s just a small snapshot, based on one test, and the district feels there is more to know about where the child is at in their learning than one test, Vogan said.
“We have great teachers and we work with kids in a much broader way,” Vogan said. “Students achieve great things with interaction and participation with other students.”
Private schools tend to top the list, but the common denominator amongst them is that nearly all of the students write the tests. Private schools don’t usually give children the option to write the tests, as a higher score could encourage parents to send their children to that school.