Who Doesn’t Go to Postsecondary Education

Research Summary:

This study was designed to develop a better understanding of the characteristics of the young people who do not pursue post-secondary education (PSE) directly after leaving secondary school, and the factors that shaped their decision making. 

Quantitative and qualitative data were used in this study. The quantitative component relied on data files from the Ontario Ministry of Education which included demographic information and marks records for approximately 750,000 secondary school students in each of their school years from 2001-02 to 2006-07. These files included integrated data on applications and registrations in university and college which the Ministry of Education (MOE) had received from the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS), respectively. Data were also received from OCAS which included applications, offers and registrations in Ontario’s 24 Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology for 2006-07 (n=138,000).

Three types of analysis were conducted:  the first involved a snapshot of all enrolled students in Ontario secondary schools in 2006-07 to gain an insight into academic achievement and PSE interest and opportunity at one point in time. The second involved the trace of students who began Grade 9 in 2001-02 and 2002-03 to their PSE destination in 2005-06 and 2006-07 (n=88,427 (2001-02); n=105,570 (2002-03). The purpose of this analysis was to outline the path of Ontario students throughout secondary school in terms of course selection and achievement, and to describe students’ characteristics in terms of their PSE destinations. The third analysis examined applications, offers and registrations with regard to direct-from-secondary-school and out-of-school applicants to Ontario colleges as well as in specific college programs.