Study: School mobility and educational outcomes of off-reserve First Nations students, 2012
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Off-reserve First Nations students who had changed schools once, outside of a regular academic progression, were more likely to have repeated a grade than those who had not changed schools or who had one regular academic progression move, reports a new study based on data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey. This finding held even when other variables such as age, sex, household income, living arrangements and rural/population centre residence were taken into account.
Among off-reserve First Nations students in Grades 1 to 6 who had moved schools, just under two-thirds (65%) reported that they had moved for reasons other than a regular progression. The proportion was over one-third (37%) for off-reserve First Nations students in Grades 7 to 12.
The main reason that off-reserve First Nations students changed schools, apart from a regular progression move, was because of a residential move. Two out of five students in Grades 1 to 6 reported such a reason compared with one in five among students in Grades 7 to 12.
Changing schools has been shown to have a negative effect on the academic success of non-Aboriginal children. Understanding the impact of school changes may be particularly relevant for First Nations people, given their comparatively high residential mobility and less favourable educational outcomes.
The study compares off-reserve First Nations students who are movers and non-movers. Movers are those who had attended two schools because of a non-regular progression move (for example, a residential move or academic performance/social interaction problems). Non-movers had attended only one school or had attended two schools, but the reason for the move was regular academic progression (for example, from elementary to high school).
Less favourable school outcomes for off-reserve First Nations students who move
Just over 10% of off-reserve First Nations students in Grades 1 to 6 who were movers had to repeat a grade compared with 6% of non-movers. Movers in Grades 1 to 6 were also more likely to have received help from a tutor.
School mobility had an impact on school outcomes for older students as well. For example, among off-reserve First Nations students in Grades 7 to 12, movers were less likely than non-movers to receive mainly As on their last report card (22% versus 34%) or to be happy at school (80% versus 90%). Also, 28% of movers had repeated a grade, compared with 13% of non-movers.
Movers in Grades 1 to 6 more likely than non-movers to need help for behavioural or emotional problems
Among off-reserve First Nations students in Grades 1 to 6, movers were more likely than non-movers to need or receive help because of a behavioural/emotional problem (41% versus 23%). Movers were also more likely than non-movers to be Status Indians and to live in a population centre.
Movers in Grades 7 to 12 were more likely than non-movers to live in lower income households
For off-reserve First Nations students in Grades 7 to 12, movers were more likely than non-movers to live in a lower income household (38% versus 22%), have parents with less than high school graduation and live in a population centre. Movers were also less likely than non-movers to have parents who were involved in school activities.
Note to readers
The Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) is a national survey on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal Peoples (First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit) aged six years and older. The 2012 APS represents the fourth cycle of the survey and focuses on issues related to education, employment and health.
A population centre has at least 1,000 inhabitants and no fewer than 400 persons per square kilometre. The term "population centre" replaces the term "urban area."
The article "School mobility and educational outcomes of off-reserve First Nations students" is now available in the publication Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012 (Catalogue number89-653-X). From the Browse by key resource module of our website, choose Publications.
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