Student transitions reach new high; class size remains low

Class sizes in British Columbia remain low while the number of students moving to next grade reach record highs

VICTORIA – Class sizes in British Columbia remain low and stable while the number of students successfully moving to the next grade has reached record highs, according to the Ministry of Education’s latest data on class size and grade to grade transitions.

In 2013-14, successful transition rates reached record levels across all grade levels. Of note, there have been steady, significant improvements in the transition rates for grade 11 students over the past decade, particularly for Aboriginal and English Language Learning (ELL) students as well as students with special needs. Grade to grade transitions, particularly in the senior grades, are important predictors of successful high school completion.

The transition rate for students entering grade 12 increased by seven percentage points, rising to 89% in 2013-14 from 82% in 2003-04.

Looking at specific subgroups, the improvements are even more significant:

* The rate for Aboriginal students increased 14 percentage points, rising to 78% from 64%;

• The rate for ELL students increased 14 percentage points, climbing to 83% from 69%; and

• The rate for students with special needs increased by 19 percentage points, growing to 85% from 66% a decade earlier.

In addition, the latest 2014-15 data shows that class size in B.C. remains low and stable. The average number of students per class remains near historical lows and well below the maximum size allowed in provincial legislation. Of the total number of classes in B.C., 41% have fewer than 24 students and 57% have between 24 and 30 students.

Only 1.6% of classes have more than 30 students and the majority of these are classes such as band, drama and gym where it is appropriate and beneficial to have a large number of students.

As school districts work to better serve the learning needs of students, the data shows a continued shift in composition of classrooms with respect to students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs). In recent years, the data shows a trend to fewer classes with three or less students with IEPs and more classes where there are four or more students with IEPs. This shift reflects a move towards grouping students with similar learning needs so districts can make better use of specialist teachers and educational assistants, and an increase in specialized courses specifically designed to help students with learning challenges or special needs.

Quick Facts on 2014-15 Class Size Report:

* There are 66,596 classes in public schools compared to 67,499 classes in 2005-06 due to a decrease in student enrolment (552,788 students enrolled in public schools in 2014-15 compared to 599,492 students in 2005-06).

Average class size:

* 19.5 students for Kindergarten (17.7 in 2005-06);

* 21.5 students for grades 1-3 (20.8 in 2005-06);

* 25.6 students for grades 4-7 (26.3 in 2005-06);

* 23.2 students for grades 8-12(25.0 in 2005-06).

Quick Facts on 2013-14 Grade to Grade Transitions:

A total of 268,139 students from Grades 6-11 successfully transitioned to the next grade.

Learn More:

• Class Size Report:  http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reports/pdfs/class_size/2014/public.pdf

• Grade to Grade Transitions: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reports/pdfs/transition/prov.pdf

Fact sheets on class size, class composition and student achievement in B.C.: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/education/factsheets/

Six-year completion rate: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/12/bcs-six-year-student-completion-rates-continue-to-climb.html

BC’s Education Plan: http://www.bcedplan.ca/

, according to the Ministry of Education’s latest data on class size and grade to grade transitions.

In 2013-14, successful transition rates reached record levels across all grade levels. Of note, there have been steady, significant improvements in the transition rates for grade 11 students over the past decade, particularly for Aboriginal and English Language Learning (ELL) students as well as students with special needs. Grade to grade transitions, particularly in the senior grades, are important predictors of successful high school completion.

The transition rate for students entering grade 12 increased by seven percentage points, rising to 89% in 2013-14 from 82% in 2003-04.

Looking at specific subgroups, the improvements are even more significant:

* The rate for Aboriginal students increased 14 percentage points, rising to 78% from 64%;

• The rate for ELL students increased 14 percentage points, climbing to 83% from 69%; and

• The rate for students with special needs increased by 19 percentage points, growing to 85% from 66% a decade earlier.

In addition, the latest 2014-15 data shows that class size in B.C. remains low and stable. The average number of students per class remains near historical lows and well below the maximum size allowed in provincial legislation. Of the total number of classes in B.C., 41% have fewer than 24 students and 57% have between 24 and 30 students.

Only 1.6% of classes have more than 30 students and the majority of these are classes such as band, drama and gym where it is appropriate and beneficial to have a large number of students.

As school districts work to better serve the learning needs of students, the data shows a continued shift in composition of classrooms with respect to students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs). In recent years, the data shows a trend to fewer classes with three or less students with IEPs and more classes where there are four or more students with IEPs. This shift reflects a move towards grouping students with similar learning needs so districts can make better use of specialist teachers and educational assistants, and an increase in specialized courses specifically designed to help students with learning challenges or special needs.

Quick Facts on 2014-15 Class Size Report:

* There are 66,596 classes in public schools compared to 67,499 classes in 2005-06 due to a decrease in student enrolment (552,788 students enrolled in public schools in 2014-15 compared to 599,492 students in 2005-06).

Average class size:

* 19.5 students for Kindergarten (17.7 in 2005-06);

* 21.5 students for grades 1-3 (20.8 in 2005-06);

* 25.6 students for grades 4-7 (26.3 in 2005-06);

* 23.2 students for grades 8-12(25.0 in 2005-06).

Quick Facts on 2013-14 Grade to Grade Transitions:

A total of 268,139 students from Grades 6-11 successfully transitioned to the next grade.

Learn More:

• Class Size Report:  http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reports/pdfs/class_size/2014/public.pdf

• Grade to Grade Transitions: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reports/pdfs/transition/prov.pdf

Fact sheets on class size, class composition and student achievement in B.C.: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/education/factsheets/

Six-year completion rate: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/12/bcs-six-year-student-completion-rates-continue-to-climb.html

BC’s Education Plan: http://www.bcedplan.ca/