NWSS improvement in Fraser Institute rankings gets yawns

New Westminster secondary school is number 65 with a bullet in the latest Fraser Institute's hit parade that ranks British Columbia's high schools.

That's up from last year's placement of 74 and makes it one of only 30 schools in the province that improved their ranking.

But nobody's doing a victory dance.

In fact the chair of the high school's parents advisory council, Stephen Bruyneel, hadn't even been anticipating the list that assigns scores to all 272 high schools in the province according to test scores in Grades 10-12 for courses that include a mandatory provincial exam, along with graduation rates and other indicators.

"We know it's a good school," said Bruyneel of NWSS. "We know it's got good teachers. The experience there is outstanding."

Bruyneel said with only one high school in the city, most parents can't even look to the rankings to shop around for alternatives.

"Their bigger concern is what is going to be available next year, what are the programs in the school," said Bruyneel.

Trustee Casey Cook also didn't let the release of the rankings interrupt his morning routine.

"It's cannon fodder," said Cook of the annual list that was released on Tuesday. "It's of very little relevance."

Cook said while most school districts look to some of the same student performance parameters used by the Fraser Institute to create their ranking, they also look beyond the numbers to help plan the quality of students' education.

"They tell us some things," said Cook. "But they're far from being able to tell us how we can plan."

But the Fraser Institute's director of school performance studies, Peter Cowley, said the rankings are an effective tool to hold administrators accountable.

"Parents should ensure that principals and school district officials are paying attention and taking action," said Cowley.


To see the full rankings and to be able to compare how NWSS did against other schools, go to


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