Graduation rates a concern in Qualicum school district

Superintendent Rollie Koop provides a report to the board of trustees

School District 69 is lagging behind provincial averages in six-year completion rates — the number of students who graduate within six years of first enrolling in Grade 8, said superintendent Rollie Koop at Tuesday’s school board meeting. These numbers were presented his annual Report on Achievement for 2014/15.

“We know we have issues,” Koop said. “We’re starting to try to unpack that further.”

According to the report, the provincial average was 84.2 per cent in 2013/14, while the District dropped to 69 per cent that same year.

In particular, Koop said the issue might be solved by focusing on why some students drop out between grades 8-10.

“I think what’s been impacting our rate is not having the clearest understanding of where kids were going at the those levels,” he said, adding that the district hopes to find ways to draw those students back.

Koops said the numbers are also negatively affected by students who transfer out of the district anytime between Grade 8 and graduation, as well as by late grade submissions by post-secondary partners for dual-credit courses.

Looking to the Grade 12 level, Koop said the District “right on the mark” with provincial averages when looking at eligible grade 12 grad rates and first time grade 12 grad rates.

Aside from graduation, the report also looks at reading and literacy; assessment, evaluation and reporting; student learning services; aboriginal education and early learning. The report lists the actions taken by the District in each of these focus areas, as well as their key challenges and successes.

“We have considerable strengths in the area of reading and writing in our district,” said Koop.