Kootenay Columbia student graduation rates decline

The graduation rate for Grade 12 students has dropped in School District 20 by nearly 10 per cent within the last academic year.

The graduation rate for Grade 12 students has dropped in School District 20 by nearly 10 per cent within the last academic year, according to recent results from a B.C. Ministry of Education Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA).

After a high of 354 students graduating in the 2007-08 school year, the amount of students graduating in the district dropped to 297 during 2010-11, with the percentage of graduates dropping from a high of 86 per cent in 2007-08 to 80 per cent last year.

The drop did not go unnoticed by school district hierarchy.

“Yes, there is a concern,” said Darrel Ganzert, the board of trustees chair. “But I think it’s important to look at trends, especially if they’re repeating for two or three years in a row. Personally, I do not respect those (FSA) tests at all.”

The FSA is an annual assessment of student achievement based on reading, writing and numeracy results.

Ganzert explained that his concerns with the FSA test are because the provincial test often covers topics expected to be taught to students throughout the entire academic year, some of which students have not been exposed to before it takes place.

According to Ganzert, it can also include questions about curriculum that are no longer part of the provincial teaching requirements. He explained that some students intentionally miss the test.

However, the province indicated that very few exceptions are made for student absences. All Grade 4 and Grade 7 students are also expected to participate in the FSA and this year roughly 84 per cent of students province-wide participated in the assessment.

“With my background, I do not like them for valid reasons,” Ganzert said. “Teachers are not afraid of testing, we test all the time but we use standardized tests and rely on homegrown resources that are more valuable for planning. Like working groups of teachers who meet up to discuss problems and solutions regularly.”

Local flavour

While the remainder of the province met or exceeded expectations in this year’s FSA, the annual assessment of student achievement in reading, writing and numeracy does not carry much weight by school officials in the Greater Trail region.

Ganzert explained that declining numbers and resources should trigger some tough decisions from the community, and he is optimistic about finding solutions to problems during the upcoming facilities review this fall.

“Don’t take the (FSA) seriously,” Ganzert said. “We rely on other forms of testing that we think are more valuable. The future looks very bright for SD20, FSA’s are a fairly minor plan of what we have in place for planning and they continue to be part of it, but we rely on other homegrown information too.”

Students are tested regularly, but teachers write questions in a way that broaches topics they have covered more accurately.

Just Posted

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

UPDATE: Two-car accident closes Highway 3A at Thrums

Road expected to open for single-lane alternating traffic at 2 p.m.

Trail Curling Club set for BC senior championships

Volunteers step up for BC Senior Curling championships at Trail Curling Club

Man found dead identified as Andreas Pittinger

Pittinger was known locally for hosting a radio show

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Most Read