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Fraser Institute ranks New Westminster elementary schools

Herbert Spencer elementary retained its spot as the highest-ranked school in New Westminster in the Fraser Institute's annual elementary school report card issued Monday, but the ranking is below what it has scored during the last five years.

• View the rankings for yourself here.

The institute's rankings are based on the controversial, mandatory Foundational Skills Assessment testing carried out by the Ministry of Education on students in grades 4 and 7.

The Glenbrook-area school ranked 201st out of 875 B.C. elementary schools. Its average rank in the last five years, however, is 188th. The Fraser Institute also gives it a rating of 7.2 out of 10.

Spencer had eight per cent English as a Second Language Grade 4 students and 6.9 per cent special needs. Only Lord Tweedsmuir's enrolment was lower in the ESL category at 6.3 per cent, but the West End school's ranking was 495th, with a rating of 5.6. The lowest special needs enrolment was at Queen Elizabeth in Queensborough with 1.8 per cent. Its ESL enrolment, however, was 53.9 per cent.

The second-highest ranked elementary in New West is F.W. Howay at 237, which is better than its rank over the last five years of 269. Its 2009-10 rating is 6.9, slightly up compared to the five-year rating of 6.7.

The Fraser Institute report also reveals that parents of those at Spencer and Howay have the highest annual earnings in the city with Spencer at $102,600 and Howay $90,400.

John Robson elementary's ranking of 281 is 61 spots higher than its five-year ranking (342). Its rating is also up to 6.7 from a five-year rating of 6.3.

The lowest-ranked schools in New Westminster are Richard McBride and Lord Kelvin which are tied for 554th. McBride's rank is drastically down from its five-year rank of 322. It now has a rating of 5.3 compared to 6.4 over five years. Kelvin's ranking was also considerably lower than its 493 five-year rank. The Moody Park school has the lowest parent income of elementaries in the city at $43,000.

Although mandatory, the B.C. Teachers Federation and local teachers associations in recent years have run campaigns to make parents aware of the reasons they can invoke for their children not to take the FSAs.

Since 2006, Robson has jumped from 0.8 per cent not taking the FSAs to 21 per cent in 2010, while Tweedsmuir has gone from 1.7 to 20.8 in five years.

The most compliant school was McBride with 4.5 per cent not writing the FSAs, its lowest rate since 2006 when it was 2.0 per cent, and a considerable drop from 10.8 in 2009.

Hume Park elementary was not included in the report cards because it did not have the minimum 15 students in each of grades 4 and 7 to qualify.

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