The vast majority of Canadian public school students now transition directly into postsecondary, and it is a widely shared assumption that new jobs in Canada will require postsecondary. Information on the public school transition to postsecondary is therefore very important, but is not as well researched in Canada compared to other countries. Firstly, the paper briefly describes three projects that are linking information from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) with postsecondary pathways and graduation patterns. The base was a detailed dataset of over 200K students who started Grade 9 in the TDSB between 2000 and 2012. This included a wide range of school, achievement, and socio-demographic indicators. The TDSB Grade 9 cohort dataset has been utilized through a series of partnerships to explore postsecondary achievement:

a) a partnership with the University of Toronto looked at university graduation patterns and the relationship to Grade 9 achievement. The analysis found a very strong relationship between Grade 9 achievement, and graduation once students had entered the University of Toronto.

b) a consequent partnership with York University. This analysis focused on the differences between students who made the direct transition to postsecondary, and those who took a longer period of time before entering postsecondary.

c) a recent Partnership Development Grant using Statistics Canada’s Postsecondary Information System (PSIS). The initial analysis looked at approximately 50K students who started Grade 9 between 2004 and 2006, and who would have completed postsecondary students by 2017-2018.

Secondly, the paper will discuss a university graduation predictor using first-year undergraduate and graduation information from York University. The graduation predictor found that first-year undergraduate GPA and credits were strongly predictive of university graduation. Finally, the paper will examine the link between TDSB elementary/secondary achievement and the York university graduation predictor. We look at a range of variables including key socio-demographic characteristics (e.g., gender, race, neighbourhood income); Grade 6 Learning Skills; Grade 6 Mathematics achievement; Grade 9 streaming and course achievement; and the type of Grade 12 English and Mathematics credits completed. These will be included in a logistic regression with the York first-year undergraduate graduation predictor as the outcome (predicted graduation outcome/not predicted graduation). The research concluded with suggestions on utilizing the findings so far, and possible next steps for research.

Authors: Robert S. Brown, Gillian Parekh

Published in: Canada International Conference on Education, 2022

  • Date of Conference: 21-23 June, 2022
  • DOI: 10.20533/CICE.2022.0026
  • Electronic ISBN: 978-1-913572-49-5
  • Conference Location: Virtual (Mississauga, Canada)