Why is BC Best? The Role of Provincial and Reserve School Systems in Explaining Aboriginal Student Performance

After allowance for the impact of school location and employment rate, this study found that the Canadian province of British Columbia has achieved considerably better K–12 Native student outcomes than five other provinces with large Native groups. The study asked what British Columbia is doing right and what other provinces can learn. The author discussed three institutional and policy differences: i) more comprehensive and regular monitoring of Native student performance in the core competencies of reading, writing, and mathematics; ii) incentives for provincial school districts to innovate and consult with local Native leaders; and iii) the encompassing nature of First Nation institutions providing secondary services to reserve schools. 

Content Comments 

This report illustrates that indigenous populations in Canada have performance gaps similar to those of American Indian students when either group is compared to non-indigenous populations. The author effectively states his purposes, in particular to uncover evidence-based reasons for why one Canadian province typically produces better outcomes for its indigenous students than other Canadian provinces do. The researcher clearly states and meets his purposes, uses reasonable methodology, and carefully draws his conclusions and caveats. The potential utility is very high, both for Canadian indigenous students as well as U.S. American Indian students. Based on overall resource quality, this resource has the potential for a positive impact on student learning.