SD73 grad, completion rates rising

The completion and graduation rate report presented to trustees Monday is full of good news

By Dale Bass

Kamloops This Week

The completion and graduation rate report presented to trustees Monday is full of good news from the viewpoint of Alison Sidow.

The assistant superintendent with School District 73 said rates overall are good and show the district is moving in the right direction.

Highlights of the report include rates for male students.

From 2010 to the 2014-2015 school year, completion rates increased to 82.3 per cent from 71 per cent. The growth has also seen the district improve beyond the provincial rate, which in 2010 was 78.7 per cent and which last year was 81.9 per cent.

The graduation rate for boys also improved in the past four school years, from 93 per cent to 95 per cent, marginally better than the provincial rates.

The district’s first-time graduation rate for boys grew to 87 per cent from 80 per cent in that time frame. Provincially, it went from 78 per cent up to a high of 81 per cent in 2012. At the end of the last school year, it was 79 per cent.

First-time graduation is a measurement of students being in Grade 12 for the first time and graduating the same year.

Sidow said one reasons boys are doing better in high school is the education system has become more aware of what they need to learn, offering more hands-on and project-based lessons.

Expanding trades education with the new centre at NorKam senior secondary has also had a ‘huge impact,” Sidow said.

Completion and graduation rates for girls has remained fairly consistent at 81 per cent. In 2012, it was 81.1 per cent, compared to a provincial rate of 83.4 per cent. In the last school year, it was 81.8 per cent compared to 86 per cent provincially.

Graduation rates are higher at 95 per cent (94 per cent provincially) and 87 per cent (79 per cent) for first-time graduations.

Sidow said another highlight can be found in the rates for aboriginal students, which show completion going to 73 per cent last year from 64.4 per cent in 2010, well above the provincial rates of 63 per cent, up from 53.7 per cent in 2010.

Ninety per cent eligible to graduate did so, slightly below the provincial average of 91 per cent, but an improvement from the 2010 rate of 89 per cent and 2011 rate of 81 per cent. First-time graduation rates for aboriginal students was 77 per cent, the same as the 2013-2014 school year, but up from the 2010 rate of 68 per cent. Provincially, the rate was 63 per cent, up from 60 per cent.

Sidow said the improvement is again likely a result of changing teaching styles, with more awareness of how aboriginal children learn and the role culture plays in their learning.

She said boys’ and girls’ groups created for the students specifically have also helped, providing them with safe spaces to talk about school, family and any issues they might be facing.

While noting the district still wants to improve, the rates for special-needs students also stand out for Sidow.

In 2010, the completion rate was 46.6 per cent (52.7 per cent provincially). Last year, it had risen to 71.7 per cent (65.9 per cent provincially).

Grade 12 rates were 93 per cent for graduation (91 per cent provincially) and 77 per cent first-time graduation (68 per cent provincially).

Sidow said the education system has a better understanding of how special-needs students learn, adding the district has worked hard in that area.

“We’re seeing students in a way we didn’t see them 20 years ago,” Sidow said. “We embrace diversity, but we still have a way to go.”

Overall percentage rates for the district, with 2010 rates in brackets, are:

• Completion: 82, up from 75.9 (83.9, up from 81);

• Graduation: 95, up from 93 (95, up from 94);

• First-time graduation: 87, up from 81 (81, up from 78).