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Abbotsford graduation rates dip

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Graduation rates in Abbotsford schools dipped slightly last year but remain above the provincial average.

Eighty-eight per cent of students completed school on time in 2015/16, down from 89 per cent the previous year, but above the 84 per cent provincial average, according to the district's student achievement report, which was released earlier this month.

The proportion of aboriginal students dipped even more, from 75 per cent in both 2013/14 and 2014/15 to 72 per cent in 2015/16. The provincial average was 63.8 per cent.

Abbotsford has long performed above the British Columbia average, but the gap narrowed considerably last year, with the dips in local performance counteracted by increasing graduation rates elsewhere in the province.

"We are proud of the progress that our students have made over the year, but the numbers show us that there is still work to do," school district spokesperson Kayla Stuckart said in an email.

The achievement report says the district's plans to improve include: "implementing the redesigned provincial curriculum; expanding industry partnerships and career program opportunities; and developing flexible blended learning projects in all schools."

Beyond the graduation rates, some areas showed progress while other indicators worsened.

Grade 4 reading and numeracy scores increased slightly, with 86 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively, being proficient in the key skills. Both indicators, however, have seen aboriginal students performing worse than in previous years.

Children in care also fared worse last year, with significantly fewer such students meeting expectations in Grade 7 numeracy and reading and Grade 4 numeracy. They did, however, perform better in Grade 4 reading.

The percentage of children in care graduating on time did, however, increase significantly, from 40 per cent in 2014/15 to 56 per cent in 2015/16. Still, fewer children in care graduate on time than those of other backgrounds tracked by the district.

The report also shows that just under half of all students (49 per cent) immediately transition to post-secondary schooling. That figure is slightly below the 51 per cent provincial average and down marginally from the previous year tracked.

Of those moving on to college or other post-secondary programs, 71 per cent moved on to the University of the Fraser Valley. Of the remaining students choosing to study in B.C., eight per cent went to the University of British Columbia and five per cent attended Simon Fraser University.

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