Seven public schools and six Catholic schools in the GTA are among the 20 fastest-improving secondary schools in Ontario, according to a Canadian think tank’s annual rankings.

Fraser Institute said its 2013 report card suggests that school improvement is occurring across Ontario, with some of the biggest gains in the Toronto area.

In the overall rankings, seven of the top 12 schools are located in the GTA, including three in Richmond Hill.

With a rating of 9.6 out of 10, the highest-rated school is London Central Secondary School in London, followed by Toronto's Cardinal Carter School for the Arts (9.5), according to the Fraser Institute.

The average rating was 6.0.

TDSB schools scored below that mark with an average rating of 5.5, while TCDSB schools had an average of 6.0, according to the report.

Peter Cowley, one of the report’s authors, said he hopes schools that were ranked poorly will use that as inspiration to improve their scores, and he hopes they will look for guidance from schools that ranked higher on the list.

Cowley said the purpose of the report card is to inform parents and allow them to compare schools in their region, although some educators are not fans of the method used to rank the schools.

“I think the problem that most educators have with the report card is it allows anyone at all to compare one school to another and this is something they don’t like doing,” Cowley told CP24 reporter Jackie Crandles outside Toronto’s Jarvis Collegiate on Sunday. “And yet, if you can’t compare schools, how on Earth are you going to have an effective improvement plan? You need to be able to say, ‘How is this school doing compared to how it was doing five years ago, and is it improving? Comparison is the very basis of improvement.”

Cowley said Jarvis Collegiate was once above the 6.0 average, but has seen a decline in each of the last five years, and now has a rating of 4.7 and ranks 578th out of 725 schools across Ontario.

Of the top 20 most improved schools over the last five years, 10 are public schools where the parental income is below average, and four have a special needs student population that accounts for 20 per cent of total school enrolment.

Fraser Institute said the report, released Sunday, rates 725 public, private and Catholic secondary schools based on seven academic indicators using data from standardized literacy and math tests overseen by Ontario's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

The report contains information about each school’s makeup, including parents’ average income and the number of ESL or special needs students.

According to the report, these are the top 12 secondary schools in Ontario:

London Central, London (9.6 rating out of 10)

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, Toronto (9.5)

Colonel By, Gloucester (9.2)

St. Joseph’s, Renfrew (9.2)

Bayview, Richmond Hill (9.1)

Richmond Hill, Richmond Hill (9.1)

Holy Name of Mary, Brampton (9.1)

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Markham (9.0)

St. Michael, Kemptville (9.0)

St. Robert, Thornhill (9.0)

St. Therese of Lisieux, Richmond Hill (9.0)

West Carleton, Dunrobin (9.0)

These are the 20 most improved secondary schools in Ontario, according to the Fraser Institute:

Bloor (public), Toronto

Mere-Teresa (Catholic), Hamilton

St. Patrick (Catholic), Toronto

St. Mary's (Catholic), Toronto

Le Sommet (public), Hawkesbury

Central Commerce (public), Toronto

St. Edmund Campion (Catholic), Brampton

Nouvelle-Alliance (Catholic), Barrie

Walkerville (public), Windsor

E.J. Lajeunesse (Catholic), Windsor

Father Henry Carr (Catholic), Toronto

Monarch Park (public), Toronto

Thistletown (public), Toronto

Ascension of Our Lord (Catholic), Mississauga

Jeanne-Lajoie (Catholic), Pembroke

North Grenville (public), Kemptville

Victoria Park (public), Toronto

East York (public), Toronto

Pope John Paul II (Catholic), Toronto

West Humber (public), Toronto