Rupert First Nation student improvements highlight report

Sandra Jones, superintendent of SD52, recently presented a report on student achievement that showed many areas of improvement in 2013/14.

Sandra Jones, superintendent of the Prince Rupert School District, recently presented a report on student achievement that showed many areas of improvement in 2013/14, particularly for Aboriginal students.

“The board is pleased to see the continuing improvements in the results for the Aboriginal students in the district. We look forward to even better results in the years to come,” said Tina Last, board chair.

In the 2013/14 school year, 89 per cent of kindergarten students met basic skills by the end of the year, a seven-year high. Phonological skills were also the highest in years at 71 per cent.

While Grade 4 Aboriginal students scored higher than the provincial average in their reading Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), there was a slight drop.

But the reading scores of all Grade 4 students declined by 10 per cent and was below the provincial average.

All Grade 4 students improved in the writing FSA, with Aboriginal students scoring above their B.C. counterparts by 11 points.

But Grade 4 numeracy results weren’t as positive. All students scored nearly 20 points below the provincial average, with Aboriginal results declining 10 points below the average.

Grade 7 FSA scores in reading, writing and numeracy have steadily improved over the last three years.

Grade 7 writing results were six points above the average of all students, with Aboriginal students being 17 points above. Reading scores of all learners and Aboriginal students were above the provincial average, with Aboriginal learners also marking above the average in numeracy.

All Grade 10 mathematics marks declined last school year, with Science 10 marks declining over the last five years. English 12 blended final marks were also down.

While all high school grade-to-grade transitions improved last year, the first time graduation rate of all students declined by 16 per cent and 22 per cent for Aboriginal students.

Aboriginal six-year completion rates increased for the fifth straight year, going from 35 per cent in 2009/10 to 62 per cent in 2013/14. But the percentage of all students’ six year completion rate went down three per cent.

Jones cautioned the district’s statistics could be widely diverse based on just a few students.

“Maybe two or three students doing poorly in one class one year can make it look like the world has gone to hell in a hand basket,” she said.

To maintain positive trends, the district will continue its early childhood education work and has hired specialist teacher Carole Fullerton to work with teachers on their mathematics instruction practices.