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The 2013 Fraser Institute Report Card

Lowest ranked school result of incomplete scores: principal

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Darren Mitzel, principal of Vancouver’s MacCorkindale Elementary, which had the lowest ranking in the latest Fraser Institute report. The school is an "open area school," which means there are no classrooms or walls. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Darren Mitzel, principal of Vancouver’s MacCorkindale Elementary, which had the lowest ranking in the latest Fraser Institute report. The school is an "open area school," which means there are no classrooms or walls. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Though MacCorkindale Elementary in Vancouver received the lowest ranking in the latest Fraser Institute report card, a lack of usable computers last year meant students could only write the paper portion of the Foundation Skills Assessment tests.

Principal Darren Mitzel published a lengthy letter to parents on the school’s website last Monday, explaining how the school’s 848th ranking was not the fault of the Grade 4 and Grade 7 students who couldn’t access the online portion of their tests — which accounted for a large part of the marks.

Consequently, reading and numeracy scores for Grade 7 students and reading scores for Grade 4 children plummeted.

MacCorkindale, an open-concept school where classrooms have “movable” walls, had introduced in September reading assessments three-times yearly to track its own students’ progress, Mitzel said.

In mathematics, students are encouraged every day to log problem areas into a “math dictionary,” which is then reviewed by teachers to understand each individual student’s challenges.

Mitzel was reviewing report cards when contacted by 24 hours last week.

“For Grade 7s, for example, there’s probably only three kids in that C- range. Everybody else is C+ or higher,” he said.

Vancouver School Board trustee Allan Wong called MacCorkindale a “gem” in the community. His youngest son currently attends the school.

“It’s a community. Where they say it takes a community to raise a child — everyone, the teachers, the staff, are all approachable,” he said. “There are students from out of Vancouver coming to MacCorkindale.”

The Fraser Institute report card, which collected data from 2011/2012 tests, suggested 47.8% of MacCorkindale students were, on average, “below expectations” in literacy and numeracy.

 

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