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Parental satisfaction with schools has dipped, survey suggestsNovember 25, 2014

Author: Webmaster

Parental satisfaction with student achievement in B.C. public schools has slipped, according to an annual survey conducted for the Ministry of Education.

Asked during the 2013-14 school year if they were satisfied with what their children were learning, only 71 per cent of participating elementary-school parents said yes, down from 79 per cent in 2009-10. Among secondary-school parents, 66 per cent replied yes, down from 74 per cent.

Participation in the annual survey was low: 12 per cent for elementary-school parents; four per cent for secondary-school parents.

The survey found parents’ level of satisfaction with what elementary students were learning dipped in three key areas during those five years:  Reading (68 per cent from 76), writing (53 per cent from 64) and math (60 per cent from 68). There were similar drops among secondary-school parents.

In response to questions about the future, only 38 per cent of secondary-school parents said they were satisfied that high school was preparing their students for a job (down from 52 per cent in 2009-10) and 47 per cent said it was adequately preparing them for post-secondary education (down from 60 per cent in 2009-10).

Participants did respond positively to several questions about school climate, with 89 per cent of elementary-school parents and 86 per cent of secondary-school parents saying they believed their children were safe at school. Those percentages have not changed much in five years.

The ministry conducts satisfaction surveys of students, parents and school staff each year in Grades 4, 7, 10 and 12. This began in 2002, a year after the Liberals formed government. The ministry says the survey is valid and reliable and the results are used by schools, districts, government, external organizations and third-parties for planning and research.

The surveys can be found online from January to mid-April and parents can access them by obtaining a log-in from their schools. They are available in 18 languages and include an open-ended comment box for parents and staff. Find out more here.

The survey also asked parents if they felt welcome at their child’s school (most said yes) and if they felt included in decisions that affect their children’s education (most said no). The percentage that felt involved in school planning activities dropped to 53 from 63 per cent in elementary schools and 46 from 54 per cent in secondary schools.

The responses from students may be more informative since their participation rates were better. Roughly three-quarters of elementary-school students and two-thirds of Grade 10 students answered the survey, but only 54 per cent of Grade 12 students did so.

While many responses remained the same over the past five years, there were some interesting changes, including:

– Fewer students in all grades said they’re learning how to care for the environment through recycling and conservation.

– Fewer high-school students said they’re learning about climate change. (Elementary-school students were not asked that question.)

– Fewer elementary students said they’re learning about art.

– More high-school students said they are learning about aboriginal peoples in Canada.

– The students least likely to feel safe (25 per cent) were in Grade 10; the students most likely to feel bullied or teased (9 per cent) were in Grade 4.

– Less than half of high-school students indicated that school was preparing them well for a job or for post-secondary school.

– Asked if they liked school, 59 per cent of Grade 4s, 52 per cent of Grade 7s, 40 per cent of Grade 10s and 44 per cent of Grade 12s said yes. The results were roughly the same when asked if they liked what they were learning.

– Only a third of students in Grades 7, 10 and 12 said they often have opportunities to work on things that interest them as part of their coursework. (The question was not included in the Grade 4 survey.)

Full results can be found here.

I am a guest blogger for BCCPAC and do not speak for the organization.

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