Pathways to and Through Post-Secondary Education

Who Comes to York? Access, Participation and Graduation Trends

Authors: Gillian Parekh, Robert S. Brown, Carl E. James
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Across Canada, access to post-secondary education is becoming increasingly important. In the next few years, over 70% of new jobs will require post-secondary education (Government of Canada, 2015). Longitudinal studies indicate that post-secondary education is strongly related to students’ future well-being, including economic and health outcomes (Ballingall, 2015; Fonseca & Zheng, 2011). For many students, post-secondary access can be shaped by their experiences in K-12 schooling. To better understand the relationship between students’ public school experiences, post-secondary access as well as outcomes, we have merged student records from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB Grade 9 Cohort, n=234,000 students) and York University student records (approx. 200,000 students), identifying a total of 26,443 former TDSB students who attended York University between 2004 and 2016. The most complete data, which includes information from the TDSB Student Census, is drawn from the 2003–2007 TDSB cohorts, representing 11,417 students. Therefore, our analysis focuses on this particular dataset. Based on these students’ sociodemographic, family, academic program, and achievement factors, this study explores the relationships among post-secondary access, participation, and graduation rates from York University. Our findings suggest that there are strong relationships between students’ earlier program and achievement patterns, as well as between students’ sociodemographic characteristics (e.g. gender, racial identity, disability, region of birth, variables related to parents’ education, profession, etc.) to their post-secondary access and graduation.