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Board chairman disputes accuracy of grad rates

The chair of the Near North District School Board is questioning the accuracy of high school graduation rates.  The grad rate among Near North schools is 65 percent, which is 20 percent below the provincial average.  But board chairman Dave Thompson says the rates don’t include some realities at the area high schools.  He says 24 percent of the student population have identified needs which he doubts were factored into the equation.

Also more students graduate with a certificate instead of a diploma meaning they leave school at Grade 10.  Thompson says the lower grad rates boil down to socio-economic differences between Northern and Southern Ontario.   However Thompson believes the province recognizes this and it’s why it’s developed an achieving excellence program to address northern education issues that don’t exist in the south.  In this area, only the Franco Nord Catholic board exceeded the provincial average with a 91.5 percent rate.

The remaining two boards were below the average.  The Nipissing – Parry Sound Catholic board scored a 73.7 percent rate while the Francophone public board for the North East had a graduation rate of 78.4 percent.   Thompson says other public board in the north were well below the provincial average.  They include the Algoma board which shows a 69.1 percent grad rate and even lower down the scale is the Rainbow board with a 60.3 rate.

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