Research & News
Bookmark and Share

New Fraser Institute Alberta high school rankings show 40 schools across province with poor academic results and no improvement over past five years

Media Contacts:
Release Date: June 12, 2011
CALGARY, AB—Forty high schools from across Alberta have suffered below-average academic results in every one of the past five years with no sign of improvement, according to the annual school rankings released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.

“Year after year, these schools have failed to adequately prepare their students for the academic challenges of post-secondary education and work,” said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies and co-author of the Report Card on Alberta’s High Schools 2011.

“The fact that there has been no sign of improvement suggests that the people who are responsible for these schools don’t know what to do to improve them. Who can assure Alberta parents that improving learning at these schools is a top priority? Is it the school principals, officials with the school districts and divisions, or officials at Alberta Education?”

Individual school results and rankings may be viewed at, a free, interactive website where anyone can quickly and easily compare 276 public, separate, private, and charter Alberta high schools on eight key indicators of academic performance derived from the results of provincewide testing and grade-to-grade transition rates.

The website allows users to compare up to five schools at once based on exam results in multiple courses, percentage of exams failed, transition and graduation rates, and each school’s overall rating. The website generates easy-to-understand graphs that users may download.

Adding context to the rankings, the website also displays the average parental income at each school and the percentage of ESL and special needs students enrolled.

“Only at can parents quickly determine how the schools in their community compare with each other and with those around the province. They can also see if there has been any important change in the performance of schools of interest over time,” Cowley said.

“Our report card is the number one source for objective, reliable information about how Alberta high schools stack up academically. Everybody has easy access to clear, up-to-date information about the performance of the high schools in their community, and others across Alberta.”

Cowley says that one purpose of the report card is to put the spotlight on schools that have improved, and encourage them to share their recipe for success.

“When two different schools have student populations with similar personal and family characteristics, but there’s a big gap in exam results, educators should be looking for ways to learn from their more successful colleagues,” Cowley said.

“The Fraser Institute’s report card is an understandable source of information about the performance of Alberta high schools year to year. By highlighting key areas in which improvement can be made, the report card helps individual schools provide their students with the best possible education.”

School results are available in weekend editions of the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Sun.

Forty consistently low-performing Alberta high schools