Havergal College, an all-girls school in midtown Toronto, has finished second in an annual report that ranks Ontario's secondary schools.

The Fraser Institute published the "Report Card on Ontario's Secondary Schools 2015" today, ranking 749 secondary schools in the province based on data gathered from mandatory province-wide literacy and math tests administered to all students.

The institute uses publicly-available information to calculate what it calls "key academic indicators" for each school. These include the school's average score on the Education Quality and Accountability office (EQAO) math test administered in grade 9 and the percentage of students who pass the grade 10 literacy test. Researchers also look for discrepancies in test results across gender and age lines to assess the quality of teaching and overall learning environment at each school.

A school's out-of-10 rating reflects the combined results of these factors, according to the report.

"Our rankings are the go-to source for parents who want to find out how their child's school is doing compared to other schools in their community," Peter Cowley, the public policy think tank's director of school performance studies, said Sunday.

Two very different schools topped the list this year.

Minto, a trades-focused Francophone Catholic school in Ottawa ranked first with a perfect 10 out of 10. Havergal, located near Lawrence Avenue and Avenue Road is ranked second with 9.4. Ottawa's Colonel By and Bayview Secondary School in Richmond Hill followed closely behind, while Toronto schools Heydon Park and West Credit landed at the bottom of the list.

But the most important part of the report is the list of fastest improving schools, Cowley said, because it illustrates that student achievement is not always tied to the type of school, the characteristics of its students, or the school's location.

For example, Toronto's St. Patrick's catholic high school is one of the fastest improving schools in Ontario. Despite 42.9 per cent of its Literacy Test writers having special needs and 41.3 per cent of them enrolled in ESL programs, the school's overall rating steadily improved from 2.9 in 2010 to 6.4 this year.

"What can teachers at my school learn from the teachers at St. Patrick? That's the key question parents across Ontario should be asking," Cowley said.

Detailed results of the report can be found at www.compareschoolrankings.org.

The full report is also available as a .PDF on the institute's website.