The Keewatin Patricia District School Board had an update on their grad rates at last night's board meeting. Student Success Lead Scott Urquhart brought forward the board's own stats in comparison to the Ministry of Education's. He explains the big difference.

"Historically in Keewatin Patricia we've reported on graduation success of students that are in attendance with us. I guess the main difference is that when kids leave Keewatin Patricia and got to other school boards in Ontario, we now own those students for the purpose of graduation even though they're not in attendance with us," he said.

That means any students who transfer and then don't graduate still count as a non-graduate under the KPDSB statistics. According to their own data 77 per cent of students graduated in four years and 82 per cent graduated over five years.

The ministry's data showed 68 per cent of students graduated after four years and 72 per cent after five years. Urquhart explains why the ministry's methodology may effect their data so severely.

"Students who move and move frequently, generally for us produce poor graduation success. I'm not suggesting that's the case for all students. We have students who move, their parents are transferred to another community they enroll in another school board and do fine. But for students who move frequently there certainly is an impact on graduation success," he said.

Unfortunately, one of the most glaring statistics to come from all the school board's data is the gap between non-aboriginal and aboriginal students. Only 53 per cent of aboriginal students graduate in four years. That number rises to just 61 per cent over five years.

"That gap exists not only in Keewatin Patricia but it exists all across Ontario. We need, and continue to work hard to bring to our First Nations, Metis and Inuits students and their communities the relevance pieces and success pieces that are necessary for them to do well and graduate," said Urquhart.

Eighty-eight per cent of non-aboriginal students graduate after four years and 89 per cent of non-aboriginal students graduate over five years.

Urquhart added that overall  both the ministry's graduation rates and their own data is a good way to look back over the years to see if they've improved. The non-aboriginal rates have steadily increased from 81 per cent in 2010, while the aboriginal rates have fluctuated between years.

For more information:
Ministry of Education - grad rates
KCDSB celebrates grad rates