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Hatzic, Hillside tops in report card

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There is much room for improvement when it comes to reading, writing and arithmatic in Mission schools, according to the annual Fraser Institute report based on Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) results.

Mission's top two elementary schools, Hatzic and Hillside scored 5.9 out of 10, and Albert McMahon received a five. The rest of the schools in Mission scored below the halfway mark with Mission Central achieving just 2.1 out of 10.

Other Mission school scores are:

• Christine Morrison 4.9

• Windebank 4.7

• Cherry Hill 4.6

• Silverdale 4.6

• Valley Christian 3.7

• Edwin S. Richards 3.5

•West Heights 3.4

While nobody likes to see low numbers on a test, Mission Public School board vice chair Jim Taylor says the Fraser Institute report is not an accurate reflection of what is really going on in the schools.

"The numbers can be skewed by provincial politics," Taylor explained. "If you have parents that say FSA is wrong and their kids opt out (of taking the test) … then your school will take a kicking (on the result)."

The tests measure students' reading, writing and numeracy levels.

Students who don't take the test are given a zero, said Taylor.

West Heights and Mission Central had the highest rates of students not participating in the FSA exams at 26.6 per cent and 27.5 per cent respectively.

"As a school trustee, I'm not worrying about those scores."

Instead, Taylor says Mission Public Schools is working on a pilot program to standardize math tests for students in Grades 11 and 12. This will encourage academic consistency in the school district and the program will eventually expand to other subjects, explained Taylor.

"We want to make sure a student in Hatzic (high school) getting a B would get a B in Heritage Park and Mission too," said Taylor.

Taylor believes the exams, similar to the provincial exams, will be handled out of the board office and different versions of the same test will be created to accommodate students who missed the original exam because of illness, or some other reason.

Taylor hopes to see the first tests roll out in June.

The FI report can be found at  http://britishcolumbia.compareschoolrankings.org/.

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