Increasing numbers of Vancouver teens are rolling out of bed in the summer months to sit through three and a half hours of academic classes that start at 8 a.m.
Dan Wyper, who's teaching Math 12 for the third summer in a row, says most of his 21 summer students at Point Grey secondary seek to achieve a better mark than they did the first time around.
"That's why it's fun to teach because they're really keen," he said. "It's easy to teach them because someone else has taught them most of it already."
Some complete a course during the summer and then try to achieve a higher mark in the same class during the regular school year. "Every kid is different," Wyper said. "The main driver is to get a higher mark and the main driver of that is to get into university."
Churchill secondary summer school principal Chris Renwick says high achievers take full-credit academic courses to free up space in their timetables to take other courses or lighten their loads.
Peter Andrade, the school board's manager of continuing education, notes the spread between secondary students enrolling in remedial versus completion courses has widened in the last decade. He believes the shift has occurred as more people became aware that full-credit courses are available.
Registrants in full-credit academic courses that are compressed into 85.5 hours of instruction have risen from 2,625 in 2002 to 5,319, as of Monday morning.
The numbers increased after a court case ruling made courses that meet provincial learning outcomes available at no cost to students starting with a pilot program in 2006/07.
Registration in remedial classes has decreased. Students can enrol in remedial courses if they've previously taken the class and failed or want to upgrade, but they can only achieve a maximum of 63 per cent in remedial courses because they are shortened into only 40 hours of instruction.
Both elementary and secondary students can complete preview courses for no marks. Enrolment in secondary preview courses more than doubled from 660 in 2007 to 1,744 in 2008, the first full year of ministry-funded summer learning.
Fees continue for courses that fall outside of provincial learning outcomes, most of them for elementary students.
"Many parents would like to keep their kids in school for more than one course," Andrade said. "Sometimes it's not worthwhile driving halfway across town for two hours only- so we have designed some courses outside of the ministry curriculum for which parents can pay."
He says summer courses shouldn't be perceived as glorified childcare because both elementary and secondary students face strict rules about tardiness and absences.
In 2006/07, 1,165 students enrolled in 1,333 courses in the province at a cost of $1 million to the ministry. In 2011/12, 46,466 students enrolled in 48,940 courses at a cost of $13.9 million.
A ministry spokesperson could not say how many students complete the same course in summer school and the regular school year.
Registration ends July 13 for most courses. For more information, see continuinged.ca.
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