Who are British Columbia’s Aboriginal children?
British Columbia’s Ministry of Education requires that schools ask students to decide whether to identify themselves as students of Aboriginal origin when the annual Student Data Collection form is completed. On the basis of this volunteered information, the ministry counted 68,176 Aboriginal students among a total of 648,624 students registered at British Columbia’s public and private schools at the beginning of the 2008/2009 school year. The Aboriginal total may include (i) Status First Nations students living on-reserve, (ii) Status or non-Status First Nations students living off-reserve, (iii) Métis, and (iv) Inuit. This study is concerned with these four self-identified groups of students. British Columbia is, at present, one of only three provinces and territories in Canada that identify Aboriginal students in a way that allows their academic results to be segregated for analysis. This edition of the Report Card on Aboriginal Education in British Columbia 2011 includes academic data from both public and independent schools.
In general, how are British Columbia’s Aboriginal children doing in school?
Data available from the provincial ministry of education provide measures on at least two dimensions of academic performance that can be used to evaluate the success of students and schools: the likelihood that students will annually progress from grade-to-grade until they receive their secondary school diploma, and the level of achievement on uniform province-wide examinations at several grade levels. The delayed advancement rate measures the likelihood that students will make education a priority and complete their secondary program in a timely manner. Examination results are a measure of the extent to which students have acquired the skills and knowledge embodied in the curriculum.
On both measures, the province’s Aboriginal students continue to lag behind their non-Aboriginal classmates and there is little apparent improvement since 2005.