B.C.’s six-year student completion rates continue to climb

Peter Fassbender
Peter Fassbender

MORE B.C. students are graduating than ever before, especially Aboriginal and special needs students, according to the latest data on student completion.

Overall, the numbers of students who completed Grades 8-12 within six years has increased across all categories since 2000-01 – female, male, Aboriginal, English Language Learning (ELL) and special needs.

In 2013-14, the provincial six-year completion rate was 84.2%, that’s an increase of more than 10% from 76.5% in 2000-01. Five school districts including Arrow Lakes, Coquitlam, West Vancouver, Conseil scolaire francophone and Fort Nelson, reported over 90% completion rates.

The Fort Nelson school district had the highest completion rate in B.C. with 99.7% of students graduating. Just a few years ago, in 2009-10, the district’s rate was 61% but since 2010-11, it has been above 86% every year, higher than the provincial average for the same period.

For Aboriginal students, the six-year completion rate reached a record high of 61.6% in 2013-14, and it has improved steadily over the past 10 years from 42.3% in 2000-01. This represents a 45.6% improvement.

Of note, the Aboriginal student completion rate for Fort Nelson, Conseil scolaire francophone and Sea to Sky school districts was over 80%. The Vancouver Island West school district showed the most significant improvement from 33.5% in 2012-13 to 72.8% in 2013-14, followed by the Stikine school district, with a completion rate of 14.8% in 2012-13 to 49.4% in 2013-14.

The trend of steady improvement is also evident in the completion rates for special needs and ELL students. The six-year completion rate for students with special needs has improved by 86.2% — rising from 33.4% in 2000-01 to 62.2% in 2013-14.

In particular, ELL students consistently achieve higher completion rate than the provincial average. The 2013-14 rate for ELL students was 86.6%, an increase of more than 12.5% compared to 77.0% in 2000-01.

The six-year completion rate is the percentage of students who graduate with a B.C. Certificate of Graduation or B.C. Adult Graduation Diploma, within six years from the first time they enroll in Grade 8, adjusted for migration in and out of B.C.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said: “I am very proud of our K-12 education system and our students’ continuous achievement. They are ranked among the best in Canada and internationally for their reading and writing skills. Our latest six-year completion rates show that since 2001, there has been a continuous increase in the number of students graduating from high school every year, and I want to thank the parents and teachers for supporting our students along the way.

“Particularly, I want to congratulate our community partners and school districts on the great improvements in our Aboriginal and special needs student graduation rates. More Aboriginal and special needs students graduated last year than ever before, and we will continue to work with our partners to support our students, through the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements and Learning Improvement Funds.”