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School rankings and student demographics : an investigation into the Fraser Institute School Reports Clothier, Tamara Jul 5, 2011

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School Rankings and Student Demographics: An Investigation into the Fraser Institute School Reports OPTIONAL LOGO HERE  Tamara L. Clothier Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology University of British Columbia Research Questions  Introduction School Choice •  School choice is the ability for parents to select which school they want their child to attend. In theory, it allows parents to choose the ‘best’ school for their child. •  Advocates for school choice model argue that competition between schools will inspire educational change and encourage schools to be more productive (Hoxby, 2003). •  Critics argue that school choice policies increases social and racial differences, providing greater opportunities for affluent, Eurocentric students (Leithwood, 2001). •  In America, school choice ideology has lead to charter schools and voucher programs, while in Canada it has manifested as the publication of assessment results and school rankings (FroeseGermain, 2004). Fraser Rankings •  Each year, the Fraser Institute publishes the Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools, in which schools are rated and ranked according to ‘achievement and effectiveness’ (Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools, 2010). •  The Institute has been criticized for constructing indictors of school effectiveness without actually visiting schools or talking with educational stakeholders (Corbett, 2008). •  High rankings have been associated with private schools that serve affluent students who speak English as a first language (Shaker, 2004). •  A strong relationship between school rank and parental education levels has been established (Ercikan, 2004). A large correlation has also been found between ranking and parental income (Nagy, 2004). •  The rankings show unstable trends; school change is a slow, reiterative process, yet individual school ranks can jump hundreds of places between years Instability of rankings suggests that they are not a valid indicator of enduring school qualities; such as effectiveness (Nagy, 2004). TEMPLATE DESIGN © 2008  •  How do student demographics affect the Fraser Institute’s elementary school ratings? o  What is the effect of average parental income and proportion of English as a Second Language (ESL) students on the rating?  Results  Methods Figure 3: Spread of Rating for ESL Groups %

  Figure 1  Literature Cited  •  Sample: 75 schools from the Vancouver School District that were rated by the 2010 Fraser Institute elementary school report. •  School Ratings: Range of 0.0 to 10.0 •  Average parental income and percentage of ESL students data was categorized: Average Parental Income  Conclusion •  Average parental income and percentage of ESL students have a statistically significant effect on school rating. The percentage of ESL students has a stronger effect on rating, than the parental income. •  The Tukey HSD test indicates that the mean rating for low income schools or low ESL schools are significantly different than other income and ESL groups. This indicates that the ratings increase the stratification between social groups. •  If student demographics, such as parental income or first language orientation, can show an ‘effect’ on this rating, how legitimate of an educational indicator can it be?  Descriptive Statistics  Figure 4: Spread of Rating for Income Groups  Two Way ANOVA Table 1. Tests of Between-Subjects Effects  Percentage of ESL students  High  High  $100,000 or more Category 3  40% or more Category 3  Middle  Middle  $50,000 to $99,999 Category 2  20-39% Category 2  Low  Low  0 to $49,999 Category 1  0-19% Category 1  Interpretation of Output: • Levene’s Test = Significant (no violation of the assumption of homogeneity of variance) • Interaction effect = Not Significant (no significant difference in the effect of income on rating for ESL groups) •  Main effect = Significant effects for income and ESL groups • Post-Hoc Tests = Tukey Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test indicates that the low groups (1) differ significantly from the middle and high groups (2 & 3)  Figure 2: Variable Groups  •  Two way between-groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted with the categorized independent variables to explore their affect on school ratings, as determined by the Fraser Institute’s elementary school Report Card.  Corbett, M. (2008) The edumometer: The commodification of learning from Galton to the PISA, Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 6(1). Accessed at on 30 March, 2011. Ercikan, K. (2004). What Does Fraser Institute’s Report Card Really Tell Us About School Quality? FSA Examiner. Surrey: Surrey Teachers Association. Accessed at THe_Examiner/fsa1.pdf on 30 March, 2011. Fraser Institute. (2010). Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute. Accessed at on 30 March, 2011. Froese-Germain, B. (2004). Coming to a school near you: Fraser Institute rankings of Canadian high schools. In M. Moll (Ed.), Passing the test: The false promises of standardized testing (pp. 182-186). Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Hoxby, C. (2003). School choice and school productivity. Could school choice be a tide that lifts all Boats? In C. Hoxby (Ed.), The Economics of School Choice ( pp. 287–342.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Leithwood, K. (2001). Five Reasons Most Accountability Policies Don’t Work (and What You Can Do About It). Orbit, 32 (1), p.4. Nagy, P. (2004). Research Report: An analysis of the Fraser Rankings of Ontario high schools. In M. Moll (Ed.), Passing the test: The false promises of standardized testing (pp. 188-200). Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Shaker, E. (2004). How to score high in school rankings. In M. Moll (Ed.), Passing the test: The false promises of standardized testing (pp. 201-204). Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.  Contact information Figure 5  


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