In 2014-2015, following the introduction of the Accès 5 program, it had dropped to 19.8%. In Grade 6, the academic performance of the 105 students enrolled in the Accès 5 program was 10% lower than that of their peers in the same school board in the three core subjects. After 24 months of the program, this gap had disappeared in French and English.
This program allows the student to develop a sense of competence, self-efficacy, and belonging to the school.
While it is impossible to show a direct causal link between students’ participation in the program and their performance or the school’s reduced dropout rate, there is evidence that it is a strong contributing factor. This community program set up by Maison Jeunes-Est takes place mainly at the school and has five areas of action: psychosocial support, academic support, extracurricular activities, material and financial assistance, and specific actions. It allows the student to develop a sense of competence and self-efficacy, and a sense of belonging to the school. The close collaboration between school and community actors, in particular in relation to program management, led to a significant transformation in the very conception of school.
The researchers’ work has led to the development of greater reflexivity among actors. The program helped the school adapt to students with difficulties (adapted continuity) rather than forcing them to choose between distancing themselves (discontinuity) or adapting (continuity).
The actions put in place under the Accès 5 program are student-centred. Each student is provided with the support he needs, when he needs it, in a manner specific to his needs and situation. Thus the efforts of the community actors supplement those of the school actors. The student is better supported, leading to stronger ties to the school.
Anne Lessard, Université de Sherbrooke
Deposit of the research report: May 2017