Saskatchewan

High school graduation rates worry auditor

Fewer students are graduating Grade 12 on time in Saskatchewan, a trend Provincial Auditor Bonnie Lysyk says the provincial government should work to reverse.

Fewer students are graduating Grade 12 on time in Saskatchewan, a trend Provincial Auditor Bonnie Lysyk says the provincial government should work to reverse.

In 2011, 72.3 per cent of students graduated on time — that is, within three years of beginning Grade 10.

In 2007, when graduation rates peaked, the comparable figure was 75.6 per cent.

Lysyk said the Ministry of Education should have done more to figure out why the drop-off occurred. The ministry now needs to develop a strategy to turn things around, she said.  

"We think there's an opportunity for the ministry to set some targets and some goals as to how much they should improve the graduation rates and they could provide more specific direction to the school divisions on the actions that are needed," Lysyk said.

According to government officials, when the percentage change is applied to overall student numbers, it works out to 439 students not graduating on time.

The auditor says the government should also make each school's graduation rate public so parents can know how well their schools and school divisions are doing.

The auditor's report also recorded that if the students who take an extra year or two to graduate is factored in, the graduation rate has been holding steady at roughly 80-81 per cent  for five years.

The graduation rate of aboriginal students continues to be well below that of non-aboriginals. In recent years, less than a third of aboriginal students graduated on time, while less than a half graduated when students who took an extra year or two were factored in.

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