Students with emotional and/or behavioural disorders are widely recognized for not doing well in school. In BC, for the 2007-08 school year, only 30% of these students did successfully graduate from high school with the British Columbia “Dogwood” Certificate of Graduation within six years of first enrolling in Grade 8. The purpose of this case study was to provide school leaders with an identity construct of the students identified with emotional and/or behavioural disorders in a suburban school district in British Columbia, Canada, so that some factors associated with their successful grade-to-grade transition and graduation could be determined. This study first provides a “snapshot” of the 384 students identified with “Behavioural Needs or Mental Illness” in the selected school district on May 30, 2008 from information obtained from the district support services office. It then focuses on the 229 students in high school, from Grades 8-12, who were identified in the “Behavioural Needs or Mental Illness” categories, as these were the grades in which grade-to-grade transition rates declined. The study compares students identified with emotional and/or behavioural disorders in Grades 8-12 who successfully completed their four core subjects (English, a social studies course, a mathematics course, and a science course) at year end, or who successfully graduated with a BC “Dogwood” Certificate of Graduation at year end, with students who did not meet these criteria, in order to establish some factors associated with the successful grade-to-grade transition and graduation of students with emotional and/or behavioural disorders. Factors compared are: identification level of the students; gender; grade; current and historic diagnoses and/or behaviour descriptors; current and historic special needs identification(s) including grade(s) identified; length of time identified; and changes in identification(s); current living arrangements; current educational placement; current and historic additional educational support services received; and current and historic community support service(s) received. The study compares findings from the selected school district with information about children and youth identified with emotional and/or behaviour disorders from elsewhere. From the literature and research findings, recommendations for further study, policy and promising practice interventions are provided.
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Thesis advisor: Madoc-Jones, Geoff
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