Data sources, methods and definitions

Data sources

The 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey is a national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit aged 6 and over. The 2012 APS represents the fourth cycle of the survey and focused on the topics of education, employment and health. It also collected information on language, income, housing and mobility.

The survey was carried out by Statistics Canada with funding provided by three federal departments: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Health Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. For information on survey design, target population, survey concepts and response rates, consult the Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012: Concepts and Methods Guide.

Methodology
All estimates in this report are based on survey weights that account for sample design, non-response and known population totals. A bootstrapping technique was applied in the calculation of all estimates of variance.

The predicted probabilities in this paper are calculated on the basis of a logistic regression model, using the covariates at their mean values.

Definitions
Readers should note that the following definitions have been formulated based on wording in the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey questionnaire.

Extracurricular Activities:

  1. Sports: In your last year of school, did you participate in a sport or physical activity or play organized sports (including taking lessons)?
  2. Arts: In your last year of school, did you participate in an art, drama or music group or club (including taking lessons)?
  3. Clubs: In your last year of school, did you participate in a school group or club (such as student council, yearbook or science club) or groups or clubs outside of school?

These extracurricular activities took place outside of school hours, and could have been organized by the school, outside of school or both (Chart A.1).

Chart A.1 Location of extracurricular activity for off-reserve First Nations people aged 18 to 24 who participated in extracurricular activities at least weekly, 2012

Description for chart A.1

Overall grades: In your last year of school, what was your overall grade average? For this study, the responses consisting of mainly As and mainly Bs were combined.

School absenteeism: In your last year of school, how often did you skip classes without a parent’s permission? How often did you arrive late for school? Responses of “often” were combined to create a school absenteeism variable.

Working at a job: In your last year of school, how often did you work at a job?

Living full-time with at least one family member: During your last year of school, did you live with a parent, guardian, or other family member? Coded as “all of the time” versus “some or none of the time.”

Siblings who dropped out: Have any of your brothers or sisters ever dropped out of high school?

Mother’s education: What is the highest level of education that your mother or female guardian has ever completed? Coded as high school diploma or higher (including high school, trades, college and university) versus less than high school.

Parental involvement: In your last year of school, did your parents, guardians or any other family members speak to, correspond with or visit your teacher? Attend a school event in which you participated? Participate in other school activities? Coded as “yes” if respondent answered yes to at least one question.

Residential school family history: Were you ever a student at a residential school or a federal industrial school? Were any of the following members of your family (grandparents, parents, spouse/partner, siblings, other relatives) ever at a residential school or a federal industrial school? Coded as “yes” if any member ever attended a residential school.

Peer educational aspirations: The scale ranges from 1 to 4 and includes the following questions. Now thinking about your closest friends in your last year of school, how many of these friends thought completing high school was very important? Planned to further their education or training? Thought it was okay to work hard in school? Dropped out of high school?

Peer risk behaviours: The scale ranges from 1 to 4 and includes the following questions. Now thinking about your closest friends in your last year of school, how many of these friends skipped classes once a week or more? Had a reputation for causing trouble? Smoked cigarettes? Used drugs? Drank alcohol?

These two scales were coded as “low” and “high” (using the 50th percentile as the cut-off) and were combined to create one derived variable to measure peer characteristics.

School environment: How do you feel about the following statements about your last year of school? Overall, I felt safe at school. Overall, I was happy at school. Most students in the school enjoyed being there. The school offered parents many opportunities to be involved in school activities.

The derived scale was coded as “low” (below the 25th percentile), “medium” (from the 25th to the 75th percentile) and “high” (above the 75th percentile).

Limitations

The data used in this study pertained only to the last year of school, therefore the cumulative effect of many of these factors cannot be assessed. Since the 2012 APS is cross-sectional, no causality can be inferred.

Variables related to participation in Aboriginal cultural activities were not included in the model because the number of respondents with a valid answer is smaller than for the answers provided to other survey questions. In addition, a smaller proportion of respondents mentioned that they had participated to Aboriginal cultural activities on a weekly basis.

Lastly, the APS did not include data on family income during the last year of school. As a result, the model did not control for this important factor, which has been shown to be associated with participation in extracurricular activities.

This study also looked at the frequency of extracurricular activity participation, but did not differentiate whether the activity took place in the school or outside of the school.

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