Nelson’s L.V. Rogers is among the schools being examined as the SD8 staff try to find answers for graduating students’ low six-year completion rate. Photo: Tyler Harper

School district investigating low completion rate

Data management, it turns out, may have something to do with it

Incomplete data may have played a part in School District 8’s poor grad completion rate.

In February, statistics released by the Ministry of Education showed only 69 per cent of SD8 students had completed their graduation within six years of enrolling in Grade 8 for the 2016-17 school year. That number was in stark contrast to the provincial success rate of 84 per cent.

A request for individual six-year completion rates for every SD8 school by the Star was denied by the Ministry of Education, which said it only makes district-wide numbers public.

Lorri Fehr, SD8’s director of innovative learning services, said staff have since investigated the low completion rate. That’s meant meeting with each of Kootenay Lake district’s secondary principals to check in on the current status of students set to graduate this year.

“I would say (there are) some problems with the data but I’m not going to say that’s all we need to do,” said Fehr. “We need to know the story on every one of these children. We need to make sure we’re following them carefully from Grade 10, 11 and 12. We pride ourselves on knowing our kids and this is a piece that we need to make sure we’re keeping track of carefully.”

The district’s secondary programs include Nelson’s L.V. Rogers, Creston’s Prince Charles, Kaslo’s J.V. Humphries, Slocan Valley’s Mount Sentinel, Crawford Bay School, Salmo Secondary and DESK (Distant Education South Kootenay).

Related: Number of students graduating from Grade 12 on the decline

Related: Clarifying graduation and completion rates

Fehr said inconsistent tracking of students’ progress, as well as their whereabouts, played a part in her findings.

For example, the ministry does not track students who move out of the province. If the school isn’t notified about the move, the student technically stays within the completion rate stats.

The same occurrence also happens with international students who enter a cohort but leave before graduating. Fehr said the ministry is recording those numbers separately for the next data year.

“Some of this that we’ve learned with the ministry is a data-entry issue, so there’s a couple technical solutions,” said Fehr. “Number one, we are increasing training for our staff on data entry. We are putting in checks and balances to make sure we check and re-check our data, especially within the graduation program. And we are working with the ministry to pilot a tool that actually ensures the data we’re entering is what we’re using.”

Fehr said she also proactively checked in on the progress of every student set to graduate this year. One of the issues she found was students who cross-enrolled in multiple schools but weren’t receiving credits.

“If your child decides to take (an online class) but takes it through a distance education school on the coast, we don’t know if that child passed or failed until that school enters pass or fail in their system, and then it shows up in our system. So children can get a little bit lost in that.”

Some of the changes, Fehr said, are being made include: increased data-entry training and support for staff, tracking of students who leave the district and improved communication about how the Grade 10-to-12 credit system works so students aren’t missing required courses.

She added a plan is also in place to increase staff capacity that will ensure higher success rates attached to literacy and numeracy beginning in earlier grades.

“It’s about more than completion,” said Fehr. “We want our kids to thrive as they go out into the world.”

Kim Morris to leave SD8

School District 8 also announced secretary-treasurer Kim Morris is leaving the district in July to join New Westminster’s School District 40 in the same role.

“Kim was instrumental in leading SD8 through our facilities review process, annual budgeting processes, and demonstrated excellent leadership in our student symposiums,” board chair Lenora Trenaman said in a statement on April 25.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Nelson’s mural festival: scenes from opening night

Crowds wandered the streets and alleys finding delightful surprises in unlikely places

Smoky skies force flight cancellations

Air quality in West Kootenay also a health concern

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Most Read