The rate of Alberta students completing high school within three years of starting Grade 10 is gradually improving. In the 2010-11 school year, Alberta’s three-year high school completion rate increased to 74.1 per cent, up from 72.6 per cent the previous year. Roughly 80 per cent of Alberta students complete high school in five years.
The rate of Calgary school district students dropping out of school is also decreasing, down to three per cent in 2010-11 compared to 5.2 per cent in 2006-07. However, only 1.5 per cent of Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District students dropped out in 2010-11.
Improvements have been small but steady since the provincial government initiated its High School Completion Strategic Framework in 2009.
“There has been a real concerted effort over the last several years from schools, school boards, government, community, trying to really increase the rate of high school graduation,” says Kim Capstick, Alberta Education spokesperson. “I think it’s also due in part to us gradually trying to make students understand the critical role that a high school diploma has for their own future as well.”
Capstick says addressing high school graduation is unique in Alberta because, “we have a significantly larger temptation from the workforce here than other parts of the country and other parts of the world right now that tempt kids to leave school early. I think that’s probably one of our biggest challenges.”
Capstick says the aim is to ultimately get at least 90 per cent of students graduating from high school within three years of starting Grade 10.