Want to Buy into a "Top" School? Real Estate Company Ranks Areas by Test Scores
Lawrence Park — the richest neighbourhood in Canada — has the highest standardized test scores in Toronto, according to a new ranking by a local real estate company.
Realosophy, a real estate brokerage in Leslieville, recently started ranking desirable neighbourhoods according to school performance. Their latest offering is a top 10 list of Toronto areas ranked by how well elementary schools perform on EQAO exams — and unsurprisingly, the highest-scoring schools are in some of the city’s priciest neighbourhoods, including Lytton Park, Moore Park, York Mills and The Kingsway.
“We all know that if you have high income and highly-educated parents, the child’s chances of going to university are basically 100 per cent,” said Urmi Desai, who does marketing and communications for Realosophy. “We expected (the schools) to be in very, very high-end areas so really, the ‘best neighbourhoods’ list was not much of a surprise.”
Topping the list is Lawrence Park, where the average home sells for $2.1 million and residents in 2010 had an average net worth of $3,824,165. In this upscale neighbourhood, 94 per cent of elementary students boasted EQAO scores that met or exceeded provincial standards in the 2010 – 2011 school year.
Desai said her company began offering these kinds of rankings due to a surging demand — many prospective home buyers show up at her office with crude Excel spreadsheets charting school scores and property listings.
Desai said EQAO scores are only one measure of school performance, however, and parents should realize that they don’t have to pay top dollar to live near a good school. Other Realosophy rankings include “Best Toronto schools on a $500K budget” and “Most improved Toronto schools 2012.”
But education experts warn against placing too much emphasis on EQAO scores when determining which schools — and neighbourhoods — are “best.”
The provincial exam only tests Grade 3, 6, 9 and 10 students on math and English skills, and fails to reflect important measures of a quality education, such as class size, extracurricular programs and parent engagement.
“It is worrying that this is the way we use data about education,” said Annie Kidder, executive director with People for Education, an advocacy and research group. “What’s important is not just that one piece, but having a rich understanding about the whole school and not just its test scores.”