St. Thomas More tops in Fraser Institute rankings of Burnaby high schools

As in the overall results, the top Burnaby high school in the latest Fraser Institute rankings is an independent school.

St. Thomas More Collegiate was ranked 15th overall with a score of 8.8 out of 10.

The controversial report ranks schools based on 2010-2011 exam marks in grades 10, 11 and 12 courses that include a mandatory provincial exam.

In fact, the top 14 schools in the rankings were all B.C. private schools, with the top public school ranked 15th, University Hill secondary in Vancouver. There are a total of 279 schools in B.C.

In Burnaby, the top-ranked public high school is Burnaby North, in 80th place overall, with a score of 6.9.

Next up is Burnaby Mountain secondary, in 93rd spot, with a score of 6.7, followed by Moscrop in 98th place (6.6), Burnaby Central in 144th (5.9), Cariboo Hill in 157th place (5.7), Burnaby South in 181st (5.4), and the independent Carver Christian in 198th spot (5.3).

Alpha secondary placed 223rd with a score of 4.8 while Byrne Creek came in at 249th with a score of 4.0.

A factor in the rankings could be the relatively high percentage of English-as-a-second-language (ESL) and special needs students.

At Byrne Creek, where numerous students are immigrants or refugees, the Fraser Institute lists its ESL student body 15.8 per cent and special needs population at 10.2 per cent. At Alpha, ESL is 5.3 per cent and special needs is at 12.7 per cent.

Both Burnaby independents, St. Thomas More and Carver Christian, list zero ESL students and "n/a" under special needs.

"When comparing school performance, it's important to consider all factors that affect learning. That's why our report card offers demographic data in addition to exam results," said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies, in a press release.

Among Burnaby schools, St. Thomas More, Burnaby North, and Cariboo Hill rose higher in the rankings compared to their five year average, while all others saw a drop in the rankings, with the exception of Burnaby Central, which stayed the same.

At the bottom of the rankings are George M. Dawson secondary in Massett and Nisga'a secondary in New Aiyansh, both with scores of zero.

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