All Posts Tagged With: "drop out"
What I learned from choosing the wrong university
After years of research, tours of Dalhousie, Mount Allison, Queen’s, Carleton, and McGill, and multiple family discussions, I selected my university. It was a well-considered and entirely reasonable decision, and it was completely wrong. I’m officially a first semester drop out.
Since the end of September, I’ve been at home in Toronto trying to figure out a new vision of my future. As any student knows, the age-old question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
For a while, I had it all planned out: political science, then law school. I accepted my offer to Carleton University for their difficult-to-get-into Global Politics program in June and started in September. I left after three weeks.
At-risk students earned $750 by maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA, among other requirements
A research project underway at three Ontario colleges has shown that the provision of student support services in combination with financial incentives has a marked impact on the persistence of students who are deemed at risk of dropping out.
The study, sponsored by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Ontario government, found that at-risk students who received academic, career and mentoring supports as well as the promise of $750 earned higher grades and were less likely to drop out of their program.
The key findings of the research show the following:
- One year after the Foundations for Success program began, 67.2 percent of students who received directed advisement to the full range of supports (including academic, career and mentoring supports) and a financial incentive were still enrolled in their program.
- Almost 65.8 percent of students who received directed advisement to the supports but no financial incentives were still enrolled.
- Only 62.6 percent of students in the control group (which did not receive direction to supports and did not receive financial incentives) were still enrolled.
- Adjusting for students who did not participate in any of the Foundations for Success program activities, the increase in retention was 6.4 percent.
Note that the students who received the $750 Foundations for Success fellowship were required to complete 12 hours of activities related to their individual at-risk factors, maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, and remain eligible for full-time enrollment at the start of the following semester.
The full report is available for download here in .pdf format.
But critics say stats are misleading, are instead a “politically useful number”
Ontario’s Liberal government boasted of another increase in high school graduation rates Monday, but opposition critics warned the numbers aren’t telling the whole story.
That’s because the province is still using a five-year standard to measure graduation rates for its four-year high school program, even though Grade 13 was eliminated in Ontario in 2003.
The high school graduation rate was 77 per cent last year, up from 75 per cent the year before, said Education Minister Kathleen Wynne.
When questioned about the numbers, Wynne conceded the graduation rate included students who took five years to complete the four-year high school program.
“There are lots of kids who want to take courses that they can’t fit into their timetables, so they come back in that fifth year to do that, and I think that’s a perfectly legitimate thing to do,” she said.
“What we wouldn’t want to do is set up a situation where we weren’t counting those kids as graduating from high school, (because) it doesn’t make any sense.”
The opposition parties welcomed the improvement in the graduation rate, but questioned the validity of the numbers and the government’s methodology.
“The government hasn’t been totally forthcoming in some of the efforts they’ve been using in order to make it appear that things are better than they were in the past,” said Progressive Conservative critic Elizabeth Witmer.
On her first day in the legislature as leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, Andrea Horwath said she was worried the numbers were designed to make graduation rates look better than they actually are.
“The government is more concerned with generating a politically useful number than with ensuring that real achievement and future success of students is taking place,” said Horwath.
International studies say Canada’s high-school students are tops—so why do so many struggle in university?
Are you smarter than a 10th grader? Try this math problem: Nick wants to pave the rectangular patio of his new house. The patio is 5.25 metres long and three metres wide. He needs 81 bricks per square metre. How many bricks does Nick need for the whole patio?
The preceding is a sample question from the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, a two-hour test that measured the math, science and literacy levels of 15-year-olds. More than 400,000 students from 57 countries took part, and Canadian kids were once again among the best in the world, finishing third in science (behind Finland and Hong Kong), fourth in reading (behind Korea, Finland and Hong Kong), and seventh in mathematics.
Want to know how Canadian students measure up? Check out the charts in our 18th Annual Rankings issue, on newsstands now!
Canada’s impressive PISA results are not an aberration: when international studies of teenage and elementary student achievement are conducted, Canadian students and the Canadian education system shine. Over the past decade, Canadian elementary- and secondary-school students have repeatedly ranked among the world’s best in mathematics, science, reading and writing.
But while international tests say that our kids and our high schools are tops, there’s compelling evidence from universities and colleges that paints a very different picture. “[High-school] students have done math programs that are supposed to have prepared them for post-secondary,” says Memorial University mathematics and statistics professor Sherry Mantyka, “and they’re desperately not prepared.” Before students at Memorial can take a math credit course, they must take a math placement test; each year, 25 per cent to 50 per cent score at a Grade 6 level or lower. A study of more than 10,000 students who entered college in 2006 in the Toronto area showed that 35 per cent earned a D or an F in first-term college math.
And it’s not just math: at the University of Ottawa, to catch the large number of students falling behind and falling through the cracks, the administration in the last few years has felt it necessary to expand its student help centres and hire hundreds of student tutors. The University of Waterloo has first-year students write a five-paragraph essay, which is graded on grammar, punctuation and structure. Each year, roughly one-quarter fail. Waterloo is a university where admission is highly competitive, and generally awarded to only well-above-average high-school grads.
What’s going on? Are Canadian high-school students among the best prepared on earth—or are many shockingly unprepared for higher education? The answer is yes. And yes.