Preliminary Report on 2020 Student Census

Preliminary Report on 2020 Student Census
Posted on 04/30/2021

The Limestone District School Board is committed to equity, inclusion and ensuring everyone feels a strong sense of belonging. To help understand student identity, lived experience and ability, the board conducted its first-ever student census in Fall 2020.

The voluntary and confidential survey asked a series of questions around identity and demographics. Each question was designed to help the board learn more about students – their backgrounds, experiences and needs – to identify potential barriers or gaps, and to determine how to eliminate discriminatory biases in our classes and schools as outlined in the Ontario Education Equity Action Plan. The overall goal of the student census is to improve achievement and well-being by identifying opportunities to help all students succeed.

“Getting to know our students better will allow us to remove barriers and address gaps to help them succeed,” says Superintendent of Education Michèle Babcock. “This identity-based data will help us identify and remove barriers that we know are often rooted in racism and privilege. Our goal is to create supportive and equitable learning environments that support the learning, emotional, mental and physical needs of all students. Ideally, this work will help us to ensure every student sees themselves in Limestone.”

The census was completed by students in Grades 4 to 12 during supervised class time between November and  December 2020. Families of Kindergarten to Grade 3 students were invited to participate at home. More than 10,000 total surveys were completed by students and families – an overall response rate of 55 per cent. Among student-only surveys, Limestone’s response rate was 76 per cent.

Response rates:

  • Grades 9 to 12: 66%
  • Grades 7 to 8: 86%
  • Grades 4 to 6: 84%
  • Kindergarten to Grade 3: 12%

Of the school districts that have undertaken data collection under this framework, Limestone response rate for students in Grades 7 to 12 is high at 76 per cent overall. Response rates for intermediate and secondary students varied considerably across school districts, ranging from 46% in Durham to 62% in Ottawa and 88% in York.

The survey was guided by the input of students, families and community partners through conversations with stakeholders, focus groups, and survey development which began in 2018.

Collecting the data is the first step. Board staff are now working to verify and validate the data collected to ensure its integrity. This includes screening for inconsistencies, and reviewing the format of all data fields to ensure it is ready for analysis. Staff will take the next several months to understand the data, and engage in conversations with stakeholders. Staff will compile a series of themed reports to help  share the data with school communities.

“Given delays related to the pandemic and other challenges within the system right now, we are pleased with the response rate for our first-ever student census,” says Superintendent Babcock. “Our work is now focused on validating the data for analysis with a goal to produce thoughtful themed reports on what students and families shared.”

Image of Student Census Infographic Update March 2021