Students from Toronto’s Senator O’Connor College School stand in their school foyer. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Education data, more than 80% of English Catholic high school students graduate in four years compared to the 69% of student graduates in English public boards. Photo by Michael Swan

Catholic high school graduation rates better than public boards

By 
  • April 8, 2015

Students at Ontario’s Catholic high schools are graduating at a significantly higher rate than those at public schools, according to data released by the Ministry of Education.

Government data shows that 81% of students at English Catholic high schools graduate in four years, compared to 69% in the English public boards. The five-year graduation rate is 87% to 81% in favour of Catholic high schools.

The findings were contained in the first-ever release by the government of school board graduation rates across the province.

The report, which included 27 of the 29 English Catholic boards in Ontario, found that four-year graduation rates in Catholic high schools are more than five per cent higher than the provincial average, and six per cent higher for students who remain in high school for five years.

It is unclear why Catholic boards are doing so much better.

“We really do not have any comment on a comparison of the two boards results, except to say that much more analysis would need to be done,” said Patrick Keyes, Superintendent of Student Success at the Toronto Catholic District School Board. “One needs to know if we are comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges.

“What we do know is our graduation rates have been steadily improving and we continue to look for ways to improve through the pursuit of an ethic of excellence and a commitment to the Gospel.”

Michael Paulter, executive director of the Institute for Catholic Education, called the graduation rates across the province “very encouraging,” and said they speak “to the collective commitment to student success and achievement that exists amongst all partners in Ontario’s publicly funded education.” He said the “Catholic ethos” that permeates Catholic school communities “has a very tangible and positive effect on all students.”

If anyone deserved a pat on the back, he said, it would be the students, supported by “the collaborative partnerships that exist between parents, staff and parishes to ensure the ongoing success of our excellent schools.”

Kathy Burtnik, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, expressed pride in the “outstanding individual accomplishments of Catholic school boards.

“Catholic education in Ontario has a long tradition of academic excellence and that success is rooted in our shared focus on commitment to Gospel teachings,” she said.

The five-year graduation rate at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board was 92 per cent, eight percentage points above the provincial average and seven points above their counterpart the Peel District School Board. Director of Education John Kostoff said the results across the province indicate the strength of public education and “Catholic schools play a significant part in that success.”

With respect to the better showing by Catholic school boards, Kostoff said that each system has its strengths “but certainly Catholic boards have seen their efforts rewarded. But the results can always be better.”

The York District Catholic School Board had the highest graduation rates among English boards in the province, with a 91 per cent four-year rate and 94 per cent for five years.

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I really hate the self congratulatory mind set of the leadership and teaching members of our so called "catholic" school system, who cares how many are graduating, when most don't practice or have a clue about the basic teachings of the Catholic...

I really hate the self congratulatory mind set of the leadership and teaching members of our so called "catholic" school system, who cares how many are graduating, when most don't practice or have a clue about the basic teachings of the Catholic faith. It is such total hypocrisy.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

"we continue to look for ways to improve through the .. commitment to the Gospel.” What a joke. Does this include teaching about sexual morality, the sanctity of life, the obligation of Sunday Mass, the true meaning of marriage? this is double...

"we continue to look for ways to improve through the .. commitment to the Gospel.” What a joke. Does this include teaching about sexual morality, the sanctity of life, the obligation of Sunday Mass, the true meaning of marriage? this is double speak for the "social justice" pablum our kids are fed.

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