Academic engagement

Current and Completed Projects:

Learning more from the BC AVID Pilot Project: impacts of program delivery on postsecondary persistence

This project examines the long-term impacts of BC AVID on students’ post-secondary outcomes by obtaining up to four more years of updated postsecondary records. It is the first stage of a two-phase research endeavour to learn which elements of AVID program fidelity are predictors of student success. The research team is analyzing the patterns of outcomes and evolution of impacts over time. If the program impacts vary between student cohorts experiencing different levels of AVID program intensity, the research team will seek a second phase to study the relationship between AVID program fidelity and students’ long-term outcomes.

Start-end date: January 2017 - September 2017
Sponsor: AVID Center

Evaluation of the AILE program

Launched during the 2012-13 school year, the Appui intensif en lecture et écriture program (known under its acronym as AILE) is part of the Ontario Ministry of Education goal of improving the literacy achievement of children enrolled in grades one to six. The program aims to offer additional supports to students in grades one to three at risk of a delay in their reading and writing skills conducive to educational achievement. The intervention takes place outside the classroom, in small groups of three students for about 30 minutes, five days per week over a period of 12 weeks. The program AILE is the subject of an implementation study and outcome evaluation.

Start-end date: September 2016 - May 2017
Sponsor: Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario

Life After High School Ontario – Phase III

The purpose of Life After High School is to improve the rates at which high school students transition to post-secondary education by reducing the non-financial and financial barriers students face. The program applies lessons from behavioural economics to provide all Grade 12 students at selected Ontario secondary schools with practical support applying for post-secondary education and financial aid. Students are guided through online tools and video in the process of selecting a post-secondary program of their choice, applying for a place in that program without incurring a fee, and applying for financial aid. As options are considered for the delivery of a streamlined Life After High School program in Ontario in future years, SRDC is running the program in 69 low-transition schools in 2016-17.

Start-end date: September 2016 - June 2017
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development

School Choices and Educational Trajectories of Youth of French-speaking Immigration Backgrounds

As stated in the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018 : Education, Immigration, Communities, education plays a vital role in strengthening Francophone minority communities (FMC). This project aims to understand the factors (environmental and social) and motivations of students (and their families) of French-speaking immigrant backgrounds living in FMCs in their choices and educational trajectories in three different education systems, namely French-language schools, English-language schools offering various French-second-language educational options, and English-language schools offering no classes in French. Moreover, the impact of these choices on Francophone identity and the sense of belonging to the Francophonie will be explored. The project scope is limited to Ottawa, Ontario.

Start-end date: November 2015 - February 2017
Sponsor: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Long-term impacts of the Life After High School program in BC

This project extends analysis from SRDC’s previous study of the Impact of Lowering Non-financial Barriers on Access to Post-secondary Education (Life After High School) in British Columbia. The intervention tested a sequence of three workshops delivered to high schools’ Grade 12 students intended to encourage the students to apply for post-secondary education and related student financial aid. A total of 50 BC high schools with low rates of students entering post-secondary education are involved. Impacts on students’ enrolment and persistence in post-secondary education, use of student financial aid and program choices are investigated across key subgroups defined by Aboriginal status, gender and high school achievement.

Start-end date: January 2015 - January 2016
Sponsor: Max Bell Foundation

Healthy Transitions from High School — A mental health promotion and prevention initiative: Pilot Phase

This project pilot tests and refines curriculum resources designed to help students develop the social, emotional and learning skills needed to navigate the transition from high school. It builds on earlier phases of background research and program development, and includes two components: 1) evaluate the adoption, delivery, and potential effectiveness of the resources in a pilot test in a small group of Ontario high schools and 2) consultations with educators, youth, and mental health experts to fine-tune the resources and prepare for their potential delivery in a greater number of schools. As with earlier phases, this project is conducted in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Ontario School Mental Health ASSIST team.

Start-end date: December 2014 - September 2017
Sponsor: Carthy Foundation + School Mental Health ASSIST

School engagement in middle and secondary schools – Phase IV

The « Engagement scolaire » project is funded by the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO). The objective of the research project is to evaluate the impact of a program offered by the CEPEO on teaching practices, and in turn, of these teaching practices on student outcomes. This phase also focuses on scaling up the initiative in all classes at participating schools. The program offered by the CEPEO aims to help teachers develop effective teaching strategies, including the integration of ICTs, to promote student self-regulation and engagement, as well as learning skills and work habits as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Start-end date: November 2014 - February 2015
Sponsor: Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario

Students' exit profile

The goal of this project is to develop qualitative and quantitative measurement tools to collect an exit profile for each student. This profile includes the main attitudes, values ​​and competencies that the Board wants to develop in every student from kindergarten to Grade 12. The tool will be used to populate the Board's Accountability and Improvement Framework. This framework will serve the planning and evaluation needs of teachers as well as those of principals and senior administrators. SRDC's mandate is to provide technical support toward completing the profile.

Start-end date: April 2014 - May 2014
Sponsor: Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est de l’Ontario

Evaluation of the Urban and Priority High Schools (UPHS) Initiative

The initiative was first implemented in the 2008-09 school year with 37 urban secondary schools across the 12 school boards receiving funding until 2013-2014. It aimed to enhance the well-being and academic success of students living in high-needs neighbourhoods by way of creating a safe and positive learning school environment. The secondary schools that participated in the UPHS worked with community partners to provide additional supports and opportunities to these students based on a needs assessment and existing services. This evaluation intends to increase our understanding of how additional supports and opportunities influenced at-risk youths’ academic success, to document effective practices in engaging students, parents, and the community, to provide recommendations in regards to the content of a program monitoring information system, and to draw recommendations for improving student outcomes at the system level.

Start-end date: February 2014 - March 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Education

PSE-related financial literacy among disadvantaged youth

This project aims to address information barriers to post-secondary education (PSE) access faced by disadvantaged youth – specifically, the lack of engaging online resources to learn about the benefits of PSE and how to afford it. Together with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC), SRDC is conducting an evaluation project that tests the effectiveness of new, online financial literacy resources related to PSE and targeted to low-income youth. The resources are provided through Rogers Raising the Grade, a new after-school program offered at 35 Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada, and build on an existing collaboration between SRDC and BGCC. Funding for this project is provided by the TD Financial Literacy Grant Fund administered by Prosper Canada.

Start-end date: October 2013 - April 2015
Sponsor: Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI)

Design phase: Promoting mental health for youth through transitions

Building on an earlier phase of background research into student mental health issues, this project aims to design an intervention to support students through the transition from high school. SRDC met with potential collaborators, finalized the conceptual framework, developed an intervention/ delivery model and curriculum outline, developed an evaluation plan, and identified potential funders for a subsequent pilot test. SRDC also consulted with youth on design and delivery, and engaged experts as required to ensure the feasibility, scalability, innovation, and appeal of the intervention to high school students. The result is a detailed proposal to a funder to implement and test the program on a pilot basis, to learn what works to promote and protect student mental health.

Start-end date: September 2013 - June 2014
Sponsor: Carthy Foundation

School engagement in middle and secondary schools – Phase III

The « Engagement scolaire » project is funded by the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO). The objective of the research project is to evaluate the impact of a program offered by the CEPEO on teaching practices, and in turn, of these teaching practices on student outcomes. This phase also focuses on scaling up the initiative in all classes at participating schools. The program offered by the CEPEO aims to help teachers develop effective teaching strategies, including the integration of ICTs, to promote student self-regulation and engagement, as well as learning skills and work habits as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Start-end date: September 2013 - June 2014
Sponsor: Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario

Life After High School Ontario – Phase II

A pilot project to develop and test streamlined options for delivery of the Life After High School program in Ontario. The program options provide Grade 12 students at selected Ontario secondary schools with practical support applying for post-secondary education and financial aid. Students are guided through online tools and video in the process of selecting a post-secondary program of their choice, applying for a place in that program, and applying for financial aid. In the initial stage of the project, SRDC provided consulting services and a set of recommended models for test, including consideration of a variant model for Crown Wards. Following the selection of preferred models, the second stage commenced delivery of the options during the 2013-14 school year. Delivery models vary in order to assess the impact of paying the application fee of either the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) or the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) and different forms of facilitation. This research project seeks to learn which models are most effective in supporting all Grade 12 students at a school to make applications for post-secondary studies and financial aid, and in increasing enrolment in further education.

Start-end date: April 2013 - March 2016
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Moving on Mental Health – Toronto Implementation Panel

Working with the Ministry and sector stakeholder groups to develop a report that outlines options and recommendations for system reform consistent with Moving on Mental Health, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services policy framework for child and youth mental Health (A Shared Responsibility).

Start-end date: April 2013 - October 2013
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Extension of Future to Discover data collection and analysis

The evaluation of a demonstration project involving 4,400 high-school students in New Brunswick that is testing, through a randomized trial, an alternative form of financial support and enhanced career education as ways to increase youth participation in post-secondary education, especially youth from low-income families. This extension permits the study to collect data for the analysis of outcomes through to the completion of post-secondary education and early labour market experience.

Start-end date: March 2013 - December 2017
Sponsor: New Brunswick Education and Early Childhood Development

Learning how to promote youth mental health through the transition from high school

With youth mental health rapidly emerging as a public policy priority, this project examines the needs of students as they make the transition from high school to post-secondary education or work. It aims to develop a plan for an intervention that will help improve students’ mental health literacy, so they are better equipped to recognize potential problems, develop effective coping strategies, and know how to use resources to promote and protect their mental health. The project involves a review of the relevant research literature, an environmental scan of existing programs, and interviews with key stakeholders, as background research to designing a potential intervention.

Start-end date: August 2012 - December 2012
Sponsor: Carthy Foundation

Raising the Grade Evaluation

This project provides evaluation support to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) as they develop and launch an innovative new after-school program in 25 clubs across Canada. SRDC is conducting a developmental evaluation to provide useful, timely feedback to BGCC as it fine-tunes program design and implementation, as well as an outcome evaluation to investigate potential benefits of the program for participants and clubs.

Start-end date: June 2012 - June 2017
Sponsor: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Life After High School in Ontario

A pilot project to test an innovative program called Life After High School in Ontario. Starting in October 2011, the program provides Grade 12 students at selected Ontario secondary schools with practical support applying for post-secondary education and financial aid. In three on-line facilitated workshops at 43 schools, students are guided through the process of selecting a post-secondary program of their choice, applying for a place in that program, and applying for financial aid. The application fee of either the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) or the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) is covered by the program. This research project seeks to learn whether supporting all Grade 12 students at a school in making real applications for post-secondary studies and financial aid increases enrolment in further education.

Start-end date: May 2011 - March 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Impact of Lowering Non-financial Barriers on Access to Post-secondary Education (Life After High School)

The project aims to develop, implement, and test an intervention to find new ways to lower non-financial barriers on access to post-secondary education. The intervention targets British Columbia high schools with low rates of students entering post-secondary education. A sequence of three workshops delivered to the schools’ Grade 12 students have the intent of encouraging the students to apply for post-secondary education and related student financial aid.

Start-end date: March 2010 - March 2013
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada + Carthy Foundation

Labour Market Information to Help High-School Students Access Post-secondary Education: The “Life After High School Experiment”

Concept paper to assess whether the process of providing information to high-school students about labour markets, their post-secondary options, potential post-secondary program acceptance, and eligibility for financial aid can improve knowledge acquisition and human capital acquisition.

Start-end date: March 2009 - May 2009
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Policy Research)

Keeping in Touch with Project Participants: A Mailing Experiment

A randomized experiment to test the effect of between-wave mailing contact on survey response among Future to Discover project participants.

Start-end date: January 2006 - March 2007
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Research Support for Dissemination: Early Analyses of Future to Discover Baseline Data

In advance of planned publication, the Future to Discover evaluation team undertook early analysis of Future to Discover’s two recruited cohorts from New Brunswick and one cohort from Manitoba, prepared tables for three conferences and presented at the conferences.

Start-end date: December 2005 - April 2006
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Making Education Work

Provides advice on the random assignment evaluation for a project concerned with increasing educational attainment among Manitoba Aboriginal students.

Start-end date: August 2005 - December 2009
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

BC Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Pilot Project

The evaluation of a demonstration project, using a random assignment design with more than 1,300 high-school students in British Columbia, of an academic preparation model for under-achieving students who are unlikely to go on to post-secondary education without some supportive intervention. To date, SRDC has published BC AVID Pilot Project: Early Implementation Report (2008), BC AVID Pilot Project: Interim Impacts Report (2010), and BC AVID Pilot Post-secondary Impacts Report (2014).

Start-end date: August 2003 - December 2013
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
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Future to Discover Pilot Project (FTD)

The evaluation of a demonstration project involving 5,400 high-school students in New Brunswick and Manitoba that is testing, through a randomized trial, an alternative form of financial support and enhanced career education as ways to increase youth participation in post-secondary education, especially youth from low-income families. To date, SRDC has published the Future to Discover Pilot Project: Early Implementation Report (2007), Future to Discover: Interim Impacts Report (2009), Future to Discover: Post-secondary Impacts Report (2012), Future to Discover: Fourth Year Post-secondary Impacts Report (2014), Future to Discover: Fifth Year Post-secondary Impacts Report (2016), and Future to Discover: Sixth Year Post-secondary Impacts Report (2016).

Start-end date: August 2003 - December 2013
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
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Design Options for Demonstration Projects to Improve Participation in Post-secondary Education

Start-end date: May 2002 - June 2002
Sponsor: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Transitions

A study to review promising school-based programs to increase student retention. The study involved reviews of the reasons students “drop out” of high school and field visits to 24 stay-in-school programs in 5 cities across BC. It recommended several promising intervention options and strategies for their evaluation.

Start-end date: January 1999 - July 1999
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology