UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An exploration of school-related factors associated with school completion for children and youth with behaviour disorders and mental illnesses in BC Tong, Jennifer A.


This exploratory study investigated a range of factors that might predict whether students with behaviour disorders and mental illnesses would or would not successfully complete high school. The data for this study, extracted from the BC Ministry of Education database, included all students born between 1991 and 1994 who were enrolled in BC public and independent schools identified with behaviour disorders and mental illness (N = 16,498). A descriptive, quantitative analysis was conducted to identify associations between a range of variables - (a) demographic information, (b) school engagement factors, (c) Foundations Skills Assessment (FSA) performance, and (d) special needs designations - and completing or failing to complete high school. Logistic regression analyses identified the predictive probability of factors associated with graduation or failure to graduate. Secondary analyses were conducted for two sub-populations of students with behaviour disorders and mental illnesses, Aboriginal students and English Language Learners, to determine if similar differences existed between students who complete high school and those who do not. The study found evidence that students with behaviour disorders and mental illnesses in British Columbia have the poorest school completion rates in comparison to any other group of typical or special needs students in the province. Attendance at non-standard schools, grade repetition, multiple school changes, and early departure from school were significant predictors of the failure to complete secondary school. Students of Aboriginal ancestry were grossly overrepresented among students with behaviour disorders and mental illnesses and at a significant disadvantage with respect to high school completion in comparison to all other peers.

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