Frequently asked questions

1. Q: Why are some schools not in the report card?
A: Not all schools can be rated and ranked. Here are the minimum requirements necessary for a school to be included in the ranking:
Alberta Elementary Schools
    a) There must be at least 10 students enrolled at the school in grade 3 and at least 10 students enrolled in grade 6.
    b) We must receive test results related to at least 10 students for each of the grade 6 provincewide tests in language arts, math, science, and social studies.
    The following types of elementary schools are not included in the Alberta elementary school rankings::
       i. Schools that enroll students in kindergarten through grade 5 are not included because they don’t have a grade 6 class and so we don’t receive any grade 6 test results for these schools.
       ii. Other schools that, because of their relatively low enrollments do not produce the minimum number of test results required in b) above.
Alberta High Schools
    a) There must be at least 10 students enrolled at the school in grade 12.
    b) We must receive test results related to at least 10 students in the Language Arts 30 and Social Studies 30 diploma courses.
    The following types of high schools are not included in the Alberta high school rankings:
       i. Schools that, because of their relatively low enrollments, do not produce the minimum number of test results described in b) above.
       ii. Certain alternative schools are also not included.
2. Q: Where can I get results for schools not in the report card?
A: The ministry of education may have elementary school test results or high school test results for some schools that are not in the report card.
3. Q: Should I choose a school based on these results alone?
A: No. The rankings reflect how the school is doing academically compared to the others in the report card. But there are lots of other aspects of a school and its programs that you may wish to consider. You can get a better idea about what the school will offer your child by visiting the school’s web site and by talking to the principal, teachers, and other parents.
4. Q: Does the report card take into account the fact that some schools try to improve their ratings by encouraging lower performing kids not to take the exams?
A: Wherever possible we design the report card to discourage exclusion of any students from the assessments. In Alberta, the elementary school reports include an indicator that displays the percentage of tests that could have been written, but that were not written.
5. Q: Why does the website show five years of results for most schools?
A: The report cards provide five years of results for each of the indicators of school performance and for the overall rating out of 10. This provides a more useful picture of how the school has performed and how it might perform in the future. In addition, the Trend measure shows whether the school’s results are improving, declining, or just staying steady.
6. Q: What is the overall rating based on?
A: In Alberta, the elementary school ratings are based on provincewide test results in language arts, math, science and social studies. These tests are written by all students in grade 6.
The high school ratings are based on mandatory exams in the grade 12 level diploma courses. These ratings also include grade-to-grade transition rates and graduation rates.
7. Q: Should I consider an Overall Rating below 6 out of ten a failure?
A: No. The rating is designed to have an average value of 6. The school’s rating does not reflect a pass or fail. It simply reflects how far above or below the provincial average the school is performing.
8. Q: Do you report results in the same way that provincial ministries of education do?
A: Each school’s results are based on data provided to us by Alberta’s ministry of education. However, we may display some of the results in different ways than does the ministry. We do this to make the results as useful as possible to parents and educators.
9. Q: In the report cards why is there an “n/a” reported for some results?
A: Where insufficient data are available for the calculation of an indicator, overall rating, or trend measure, an “n/a” appears in the tables.
10. Q: What does it mean that the report card's results are relative?
A: This means that each school is rated relative to every other school in the report card. So, an overall rating of 10 out of ten doesn’t mean the school’s performance was perfect. It simply means that it performed better than any other school in the report card.
11. Q: Why don’t the report cards include indicators of school performance in areas like trades training, physical education, the fine arts, and development of good citizenship skills?
A: Unfortunately, the school system in Alberta only produces measures of school-by-school academic performance. If results in other areas were available, we would include them in our report card.
12. Q: Is it true that for small schools just a couple of poor exam results can negatively affect the school's overall rating?
A: Yes. In a given year, ratings for smaller schools can be significantly affected either for better or worse by the results of a small number of students. That’s why — particularly when considering the performance of smaller schools — you should consider all the historical results so that you have a better picture of how the school has performed over time.
13. Q: When are the report cards published each year?
A: The report cards are updated as soon as possible after new data become available. We are unable to provide exact publishing dates but, Alberta updates usually occur in February for elementary schools and in April for high schools.
14. Q: Does the Fraser Institute prepare and/or administer the exams the report cards are based on?
A: No. The Fraser Institute does not prepare or administer exams of any kind. We use the results of ministry of education tests to produce our indicators, ratings, and rankings.






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