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Alberta high school completion rates rise, RVS still above provincial average

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:43 am

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More Alberta students are graduating from high school, according to the 2013 high school completion rates released on May 2, and Rocky View Schools (RVS) continues to be among the best in the province in terms of students completing high school.

The provincial average high school completion rate for students who complete high school within three years rose from 71.5 per cent in 2009 to 74.9 per cent in 2013. RVS remains above the provincial average with an 82.6 per cent completion rate, which is the same as the rate from the 2011 to 2012 school year.

“I think what it says is we’ve got some success for keeping kids on track,” said RVS Director of 21st Century Learning Leslie Collings. “I think we’ve got some good things going on in our high schools that allows students some flexibility.”

She said the division is giving students the tools to succeed with flexible learning that includes a wraparound services and dual credit programs.

Flexible learning approach, which was announced by the government last May, eliminated the requirement for students to have 25 hours of face-to-face instruction time per course. The traditional way of learning broke the day into four 88-minute blocks of time (or class periods), in which students sit in a classroom and are instructed by the teacher.

The new high school flex approach implemented by Alberta Education will allow students to work through the curriculum at their own pace and is restructured so time is more seamless. This allows students to focus more on the areas that need the most attention.

The dual credit strategy, which was also announced last May by Alberta Education, allows students the opportunity to earn high school credits and post-secondary credits at the same time.

“I think we’ve got schools that really, really work hard for kids to try and be flexible, and put resources in place for those kids that may otherwise fall through the cracks,” Collings said.

“We know that completing high school is an important step for young people to create a positive future for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Education Minister Jeff Johnson in a press release. “As we continue to improve our high-performing education system, we will work to reach out to those students who face barriers to completing their high school education and help them accomplish their goals.”

Part of the changes to the education system in Alberta is the curriculum redesign to support personalized, flexible and engaging learning opportunities to help students stay engaged.

However, the move to focus more on the 21st Century Learning, and the inquiry based learning in particular, has come under some criticism of late with Wildrose MLA for Chestermere-Rocky View and Education Critic Bruce McAllister championing the “Back to Basics” petition calling for changes to the math curriculum.

On April 12, about 250 people rallied outside the Alberta Legislature to protest the Province’s math curriculum and on May 6, McAllister brought the “Back to Basics” petition to the Alberta Legislature calling the more than 14,000 signatures on it “staggering.”

The petition aims to increase emphasis on core math concepts like times tables, long division and vertical addition to Alberta’s education curriculum in time for the next academic year.

For more information on Alberta high school completion, visit www.ideas.education.alberta.ca/hsc/about/


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