Fraser Institute News Release: More than 80 Ontario high schools show improvement in math, despite worrying trend provincewide

TORONTO, Feb. 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Despite recent headlines about disappointing math scores in provincewide testing across Ontario, some secondary schools are bucking the trend, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual Report Card on Ontario’s Secondary Schools released today.

This year’s report card finds that 37 high schools in Ontario have shown statistically significant improvement over the last four years in Grade 9 academic math and 47 schools have improved in applied math.

“If struggling schools want to improve math results, they can find out what works for improving schools and, wherever possible, adopt these proven methods,” said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute.

Crucially, the improving schools are located across Ontario—in both urban and rural areas—and serve different types of communities and students.

For example, the fastest-improving school in academic math is Stayner Collegiate Institute near Collingwood, which improved its average score from 2.0 to 2.8 out of 4. The fastest improver in applied math is C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate Institute in Toronto’s Jane and Finch area, which improved its score from 1.8 in 2013 to 3.2 (out of four) in 2017.

Likewise, schools as far north as Kapuskasing and Sioux Lookout have improved in math, as have schools in Windsor, Welland, rural communities outside of Ottawa, and in downtown Toronto.

Moreover, some schools serving large numbers of special needs students have also shown statistically significant improvement in math. For example Geraldton Composite High School in northern Ontario is one of the top 10 fastest improvers in academic math even though 52 per cent of its students have special needs.

“These schools are proof that no one city and no one type of student or socioeconomic situation has a monopoly on improvement—it’s possible for every school to improve, whether in math or any other area of the curriculum,” Cowley said.

This year’s report card, available at, ranks 747 anglophone and francophone public and Catholic secondary schools (and a small number of independent and First Nations schools) on seven academic indicators based on results of annual provincewide Grade 9 math and Grade 10 literacy tests.

10 fastest-improving secondary schools in Ontario for Gr. 9 academic math (fastest at the top)

School Location 2013 math rating
(out of 4)
2017 math rating
(out of 4)
Stayner Collegiate Stayner 2.0 2.8
Kapuskasing  Kapuskasing 1.9 2.4
South Lincoln Smithville 2.6 3.2
Queen Elizabeth Sioux Lookout 2.6 2.9
Essex Essex 2.6 3.0
Cite des Jeunes Kapuskasing 2.7 3.1
École Secondaire
Catholique Champlain
Chelmsford 2.4 2.9
Geraldton Composite Geraldton 2.8 3.1
Centennial Secondary Welland 2.6 2.9
St. Patrick Secondary Toronto 2.7 3.1

10 fastest-improving secondary schools in Ontario for Gr. 9 applied math (fastest at the top)

School Location 2013 math rating
(out of 4)
2017 math rating
(out of 4)
C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate North York 1.8 3.2
West Ferris Secondary  North Bay 1.5 2.9
West Elgin Secondary West Lorne 1.3 2.6
Galt Collegiate Cambridge 1.7 2.9
Nipigon Red Rock Red Rock 1.6 2.9
Russel Russel 1.2 2.3
École Secondaire
Catholique Jeanne-Lajoie
Pembroke 2.5 3.3
E. L. Crossley Fonthill 2.0 2.9
École Secondaire
Catholique St. Charles
Whitby 2.2 2.8
Blessed Mother Teresa Toronto 1.9 2.6

Peter Cowley
Director of School Performance Studies, Fraser Institute
Cell: (604) 789-0475
Office: (604) 714-4556

Bryn Weese
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
Cell: (604) 250-8076
Office: (604) 688-0221 Ext. 589

Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter  |  Like us on Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit


Share this post