Yesterday there were a couple of news items that were published that we wanted to bring to your attention (note the relevant portions below).

Five things to know about the 2022 provincial auditor’s report

The provincial auditor of Saskatchewan Tara Clemett has released her 2022 report.

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4. Sun West School Division distance learning

Clemett said the audit for Sun West was done because it had the highest proportion of students in Grade 10-12 distance education courses compared to the other divisions, with more than 2,100 students registered.

There were a number of recommendations regarding Sun West School Division. They include the need to identify and engage students who are behind in their coursework by consistently using its student activity phasing process. It was noted the nine students tested who did not receive the phasing notification emails from teachers did not complete the course.

It was also noted Sun West should also improve its IT system to help monitor whether teachers were falling behind in the grading of course work. Sun West also needed to periodically review and upgrade its online courses and whether teachers needed training specific for an online learning environment.

Finally, it was noted Sun West needs to establish course completion targets for its students learning solely online and then analyze and determine possible issues affecting student success when targets are not being met.

It was found that the average distance-education course completion rate for the 2020–21 school year was 61 per cent for all distance education students, and they have lower grad rates than their in-person counterparts.

“They’re not completing the courses, which ultimately is impacting whether they are graduating high school — only 30 per cent of them do,” said Clemett. She suggested having a target would allow the division to figure out if there were root causes or things that weren’t working well.

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Young calls auditor’s report findings ‘disappointing’

Opposition critic Aleana Young reacted to the findings of the report released Tuesday

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The Sun West School Division was also highlighted in the report for challenges on distance learning. Young said the level of support “hasn’t met the challenges of any division, let alone Sun West, which has done this innovative work over the last several years.”

“It’s disappointing to see that students of whom in many cases may be accessing distance-learning for very real reasons aren’t getting the same level of achievement, the same level of credit retention and achievement of other students. It’s a real disappointment to see those students shortchanged.”

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It isn’t often that this level of focus is placed on a specific K-12 distance and online learning, so it is an interesting read.

Saskatchewan Audit – Sun West School Division Distance Learning

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