Highlights of the Year
During the 2004/05 school year, the Ministry of Education continued to focus on its main goal of improving student achievement.
Listed below are some of the successes and milestones celebrated by the ministry and its partners in the pursuit of this goal.
- Completion Rate:
British Columbia's secondary school Completion Rate remained steady at a record 79 per cent in 2003/04.
- Aboriginal Completion Rate: The Completion Rate for Aboriginal students has increased by five per cent since 2001.1 Aboriginal students have made steady gains in key areas of academic achievement, and the Ministry of Education has put in
place a number of initiatives, including Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements, to ensure continued success.
- Grade 12 Provincial Examinations: British Columbia students earned higher marks on provincial exams in 2003/04 compared to the previous year. Exam results improved
in six subject areas and more than half the students who wrote exams in eight subjects earned an A or B grade.2
- Grade 10 Provincial Examinations:
A new secondary graduation program was implemented in BC. The program requires students to take examinations at the end of
Grade 10. Results of the first Grade 10 provincial exams written in January 2005 indicate that most BC students are meeting
or exceeding provincial standards and are on track to graduate. Of students who participated, 88 per cent passed the English
10 exam, 79 per cent passed the Science 10 exam, and 90 per cent passed the exam for Principles of Math 10.3
- Scholarship Awards:
More than 4,600 BC secondary school graduates received scholarships for outstanding achievement on provincial exams, with
five scholarship winners also earning gold medals for perfect scores on three exams.4
- International Assessments:
British Columbia students are among the best in the world in math, reading and science, according to results from the 2003
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)5. No country or province out-performed BC in math or reading, and only Finland and Japan performed better than BC in science.
- Foundation Skills Assessment: The Foundation Skills Assessment6 results for the 2003/04 school year indicate that overall, students are better at reading. The government has made literacy
a top priority, and all 60 school districts have specific goals for improving literacy. As well, the results indicate that
a majority of BC students are meeting or exceeding expectations in reading, writing and math:
Reading Grade 4: up three per cent over last year, to 80 per cent
Reading Grade 7: up three per cent over last year, to 80 per cent
Writing Grade 4: down three per cent over last year, to 91 per cent
Writing Grade 7: up 11 per cent over last year, to 90 per cent
Numeracy Grade 4: up one per cent over last year, to 88 per cent
Numeracy Grade 7: down one per cent over last year, to 83 per cent
- Satisfaction Survey: The annual Satisfaction Survey for 20047 indicates that more students are feeling safe at school (82 per cent of elementary students and 71 per cent of secondary students).
Parents, students and staff are more satisfied with the education system than they were in 2003.
- Literacy: Improved literacy is a key goal for the province and the ministry. As part of a comprehensive provincial literacy strategy
a new program, Ready, Set, Learn8, was launched in 2005 in order to help parents and caregivers prepare three-year old children for school.
- CommunityLINK: In May 2004, the Ministry of Education assumed responsibility for CommunityLINK (Learning Includes Nutrition and Knowledge)
and increased funding by $10.285 million for the 2004/05 school year. CommunityLINK provides school districts with the opportunity
to support services such as breakfast and lunch programs, inner-city school programs, after-school care, school-based support
workers, community school programs and counseling for at-risk children and youth.9
- New Funding:
In the 2005 Throne Speech, the government announced an increase of $150 million to education funding for the 2005/06 school
year. School boards have been asked to direct these funds toward ensuring all students have access to school libraries and
quality learning resources, music and arts programs, as well as improved services for special needs students.
A total of $4.027 billion in operating funding will be received by school districts in the 2005/06 school year. This total
funding amount is comprised of $3.97 billion in provincial contributions and a further $52 million from the federal government
to offset the cost of education for status Aboriginal students living on reserve.
- Capital Funding: The Province approved a three-year capital plan to help school districts with their long-term planning and budgeting. The
2005–2008 capital plan totals $700 million, including $217 million in new funds for 2007/08. Over the next three years,
school districts will receive $279 million for capital projects, $330 for general school maintenance projects in all 60 school
districts, and more than $91 million for seismic upgrades.
- Prudent Fiscal Management: BC's 60 school districts received an additional $15 million for the 2004/05 school year, due to savings in the Ministry of
Education's budget. These savings were achieved through prudent fiscal management and lower debt-servicing costs.
- Technology: The Province will invest $3.6 million to support 12 computer pilot projects and provide state-of-the-art electronic learning
in every rural secondary school in BC. $2.1 million will support 12 school districts that are piloting the use of wireless
laptop computers in schools. Students will use the computers to access textbooks, assignments and research materials electronically.
The Province will also invest $1.5 million to provide web casting and web conferencing for every rural secondary school and
nearly half of the urban secondary schools in BC. Through BCEd Online, an e-learning consortium that includes school districts
and community colleges, schools will receive the hardware, software and training to use web casting and web conferencing to
deliver real-time, interactive courses. This will allow students to take courses that otherwise would be unavailable because
of limited enrolment.
- School Planning Councils: The Province announced $100,000 for new training programs to improve the effectiveness of School Planning Councils. The School
Planning Councils, which develop annual school plans, play a vital role in helping to improve student achievement.
- Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools: In 2002, the Government of British Columbia established a Safe Schools Task Force to make recommendations on improving school
safety. In response to the 2003 Safe Schools Task Force's Report, the ministry announced a Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools
Strategy which identifies attributes of safe, caring and orderly schools, and provides provincial standards for codes of conduct.
As well, the Ministry of Education continues to support the Institute for Safe Schools of British Columbia, which helps to
foster a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. In the latest Satisfaction Survey, 82 per cent of elementary students and 71 per cent of secondary students reported that they felt safe in school.