Newly released figures reveal Abbotsford is exceeding the province in most education metrics.
The Ministry of Education’s numbers measuring graduation rates, test scores and more show local kids are faring better than their counterparts elsewhere in B.C. Highlights include a quickly narrowing graduation rate between Aboriginal students and the general population and above average standardized test scores.
But most students still feel the school system hasn’t adequately prepared them for university and the job market
By the end of the 2016/17 school year, 87 per cent of students who had enrolled in grade 8 in Abbotsford in the previous six years had graduated. This rate has steadily held in the high 80s in recent years.
The completion rate gap between Aboriginal students and the general student population has narrowed significantly over the last decade. In 2007, only 51 per cent of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students graduated, while 79 per cent of all students completed grade 12. Five years later, that 28-point disparity had been narrowed to 21. Last year, 77 per cent of Aboriginal students completed grade 12, only 10 percentage points behind the general population.
The gap between special needs students has also narrowed in recent years. In 2017, 64 per cent of designated students graduated, while only 42 per cent did so during the 2006/07 school year.
The controversial Foundation Skills Assessments given to students in grades 4 and 7 show Abbotsford ahead of the province in reading, writing and numeracy, despite grades declining over the last five years.
The majority of Grade 4 students met or exceeded expectations in all tested areas: 84 per cent in reading, 88 per cent in writing and 80 per cent in numeracy. Aboriginal and special needs students did so at lower rates, but still exceeded the provincial average.
In Grade 7, the trend continued, although rates fell slightly. Seventy-five per cent of all students met or exceeded reading expectations, while hitting that mark 87 per cent of the time in writing and 73 per cent in numeracy.
When it comes to provincial exams, Abbotsford students were closer to the rest of the province, but still above average. Grade 10 and 12 students averaged a C+ in math and English.
Only 26 per cent of all grade 12 students polled said they felt Abbotsford schools had prepared them for future jobs. This rate was slightly higher for Aboriginal students, at 29 per cent.
Forty-two per cent of grade 12 students said they felt school had prepared them for a post-secondary education – fewer than the 52 per cent who said so in grade 10. This rate was even lower among Aboriginal students (39 per cent in Grade 12, 49 per cent in Grade 10).
Despite the seemingly low rates of career and post-secondary preparation, Abbotsford still exceeded the provincial average.