A summary page from the Cree School Board's most recent Annual Report

A summary page from the Cree School Board’s most recent Annual Report

The Cree School Board’s (CSB) latest Annual Report reveals that student success significantly declined across the Cree Nation during the 2012-2013 school year.

The CSB has struggled over the last decade to increase graduation rates, particularly among those working towards a high school diploma. But the CSB report’s analysis of the 2012-2013 academic year indicates that the overall five-year graduation rate decreased from 15.9% to 10.9%.

To obtain a high school diploma, students must pass several required exams. According to the report, pass rates in all of those exams have fallen. Only 52% of students passed their Secondary V English Language Arts exam in 2012-2013, compared to a 90.5% pass rate the year before. In the Secondary V French Second Language Enriched exam, the pass rate dropped from 100% to 58% overall.

Plummeting pass rates weren’t restricted to the language sector. Fewer students passed their Math and Science exams than in previous years as well. The Secondary IV Mathematics exam was passed by only 2% of students, down from 12.4% the year before. Pass rates for the Secondary IV Science and Technology exam dropped from 17.6% to 11%.

Results from the Canadian Achievement Test, an annual math and reading test taken by students in Grade 6 and Secondary III, were equally disappointing. Pass rates for Grade 6 students were 15% and 17% for reading and math, respectively. Those numbers did not come close to the 35% pass rate the CSB had set as a goal. For Secondary III students, the target was a 45% pass rate, but only 5% of students passed their reading exams.

There were some bright spots in the report, including a 41.8% pass rate among all registered Secondary V students. However, this number included all graduating students, regardless of their age or the number of years they had spent working toward their diploma.

The CSB has steadily increased the five-year grad rate since 2009-2010, when it hit a low of 1.6%. The report identifies student engagement as an essential part of helping their students to achieve academic success. A relatively small 2.2% increase in absenteeism shows that students are still coming to school at a consistent rate. Another notable positive in the report was a 6.3% increase in the retention rates for high school students. This year, 58.8% of all students who started Secondary I in the 2009-2010 academic year entered Secondary V in 2013-14.

The report also recognized the departure of Joe MacNeil from the CSB after 32 years as an employee. MacNeil served as Deputy Director General before his retirement at the beginning of the year.