Fraser report rates Ontario high schools

By Michelle Ruby, Brantford Expositor

Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Simcoe.

Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Simcoe.


Simcoe’s Holy Trinity Catholic High School was the top high school in the local area, according to a ranking just released by the Fraser Institute.

This year’s Report Card on Ontario Secondary Schools put

Holy Trinity in the No. 1 spot among area schools, with a rank of 196 out of 747 Ontario schools and an overall rating of 7.1 (out of 10) compared to 8.0 in 2016.

The data comes from the Fraser Institute, which issues annual report cards on both elementary and secondary schools.

The rankings, which use the standardized Education Quality and Accountability literacy and math tests – along with other values – were released earlier this week.

The area’s three Catholic high schools – Holy Trinity, along with St. John’s and Assumption in Brantford – again took the top spots locally.

“Our results are fairly consistent but it’s just one piece of the puzzle,” said Pat Daly, secondary superintendent for the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board.

Daly said the Fraser report card is “based on information we already know” and used along with other student success indicators, including internal assessments and graduation rates, to help schools make improvements.

Of the 12 area high schools within the Grand Erie District School Board, Brantford’s North Park Collegiate and Cayuga Secondary School took the top spots with a ranking of 397 out of 747 Ontario schools, and an overall rating of 6.1, followed by Paris District High School, Delhi District High School, and Brantford Collegiate Institute.

For schools within Norfolk County, DDSS was ranked 405th with a rating of 5.7 while Simcoe Composite had a ranking of 544 and rating of 5.2. Waterford District was ranked 596th with a rating of 4.7 followed by Valley Heights ranked at 678th with a rating of 3.8.

The lowest-ranking Grand Erie school was Pauline Johnson Collegiate, which scored 3.4 out of 10, down from 4.0 in 2016.

“Grand Erie believes judgements on school quality should be based on all of the programs, services, extra-curricular activities and features of a school,” said Denise Martins, superintendent of education for the board.

“Any type of ranking, including the Fraser Institute’s annual report, should be put into proper perspective. As presented, the rankings provide an incomplete and limited snapshot of school effectiveness. Rankings such as these do not reflect all of the learning that is taking place, nor do they paint a full picture of everything that a school provides or what they have access to.”

According to the report card, more than 80 Ontario high schools showed improvement in math, despite disappointing math scores province-wide. The Fraser assessment found that 37 high schools in the province have shown statistically significant improvement over the last four years in Grade 9 academic math and 47 schools have improved in applied math.

“If struggling schools want to improve math results, they can find out what works for improving schools and, wherever possible, adopt these proven methods,” said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute. The improving schools, he said, are located across Ontario – in both urban and rural areas – and serve different types of communities and students.

The fastest-improving school in academic math is Stayner Collegiate Institute near Collingwood. The fastest improver in applied math is C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate Institute in Toronto’s Jane and Finch area.

Likewise, schools as far north as Kapuskasing and Sioux Lookout have improved in math, as have schools in Windsor, Welland, rural communities outside of Ottawa, and in downtown Toronto, said Crowley.

He said some schools serving large numbers of special needs students have also shown statistically significant improvement in math.

“These schools are proof that no one city and no one type of student or socioeconomic situation has a monopoly on improvement,” said Crowley. “It’s possible for every school to improve, whether in math or any other area of the curriculum.”

Daly said the Catholic board is currently asking for online help from the students, parents, staff and other community members to develop the direction for its three-year strategic plan that will cover 2018 to 2021.

At Grand Erie, Martins said they are halfway through the second year of its Multi-Year Plan. She said the board will continue to monitor and measure student outcomes through six indicators: achievement, equity, technology, well-being, environment and community.

The 2017 Fraser Institute report card is available at

Brantford Expositor