Graduation rates at Prairie South School Division schools are ahead of the provincial averages but are falling short of the school division’s overall goals.
In 2020, Prairie South School Division set goals and strategies to reach a graduation rate of 90 per cent and an extended graduation rate of 92 per cent. The extended graduation rate is for those who graduate, but it takes them longer than three years.
According to the school division, Prairie South had a graduation rate of 90.99 per cent and an extended graduation rate of 94.37 per cent, but it was noted that those numbers were skewed because classes shut down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With classes shutting down, students were given a credit for the class if they passed one assignment, meaning graduation rates were much higher.
Provincially, the graduation rates in 2019-2020 were 80.2 per cent on time and 83.47 per cent extended.
For the 2020-2021 school year, Prairie South’s graduation rates dropped to 87.05 per cent on time and 89.6 per cent extended. This compares to 79.2 per cent on-time provincially and 83.47 per cent extended.
For 2021-2022, the on-time graduation rate is 89.2 per cent, which is higher than the provincial rate of 75.59 per cent.
“So, we're slightly below the 90 per cent that we wanted, but we have always been steadily been going up. So, we have started at about 83-84 per cent in 2015. We have steadily climbed with us peaking at 2019-2020, but that's not a true indication,” said Derrick Huschi, superintendent of school operations for Grade 9-12 schools.
For First Nation graduation rates, Prairie South School Division was well ahead of the provincial rates. In 2021-2022, PSSD had a First Nation graduation rate of 68.75 per cent compared to 39.56 per cent provincially.
Huschi said some of those numbers are skewed as well since the school division relies on families to self-declare as First Nation compared to the provincial data, so the school division has a smaller sample size.
“If we look at our school survey data it tells us a far different picture of the number of First Nations and Metis students than we have actually enrolled in MySchoolSask,” he said.
Graduation rates were also broken down by clusters, which include the north cluster (Avonlea, Belle Plaine, Central Butte, Cornerstone, Chaplin, Craik, Eyebrow, Mortlach and Rouleau), the south cluster (Bengough, Coronach, Glentworth, Ecole Gravelbourg, Kincaid, Lafleche, Mankota, Mossbank and Rockglen) and high schools (Peacock, Central, Riverview, Assiniboia, Briercrest and virtual schools).
In 2021, the north cluster had 66 students graduate at a rate of 94.35 per cent, the south cluster had 72 students graduate at a rate of 85.71 per cent and the high schools had 350 graduates at an 86.7 per cent rate.
Huschi noted that students are tracked from the first credit they earn in Grade 10, so students that move to another school division in their Grade 11 and 12 years still remain in Prairie South’s statistics despite it being out of their control.
“So, we would have a student enroll in Central Collegiate in Grade 10 and move on, to say, Saskatoon for Grades 11 and 12. Well, they're still part of Central’s cohort, yet we have no control over what happens at graduation there,” he explained.
Huschi added that students moving could contribute to lower graduation rates in rural areas.
“Over the last two years, we've seen more movement in our rural schools. So, we have also seen students that have started in our rural cluster schools in Grade 10 or 11 and have moved out and that also has a little bit of an impact on their graduation rates after they leave the school,” he said.