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Upgrading, Slow-Tracking and the Aging of the Ontario Student Population

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This study investigates the contradiction between school board data showing that nearly half of secondary students in Ontario graduate at age 18 and university admission figures indicating that 90 percent of students applying directly from Ontario schools are 19 or older. The findings reveal that a large proportion of students return to school after graduation to complete additional senior level courses or to repeat courses they had previously taken. The vast majority of these students intend to complete university entrance prerequisites but choose to take an extra year to do so in an attempt to earn higher marks. Although these students do not complete more senior level courses than other graduates, they display a higher propensity to repeat such courses in their attempt to improve their chances of admission to post secondary institutions. The frequency of this practice is surprising, but the analysis suggests that it is not as problematic for schools and for universities as claimed by critics intent on curtailing student options. Nonetheless, it is important to develop a clear understanding of the phenomenon, its possible implications and appropriate remedial action.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Toronto 2: Seneca College

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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  • Educational Practice and Theory is a bi-annual, independent, refereed journal which, since its launch in 1978, has become an important independent forum for original ideas in education. It publishes innovative and original research in the area. Its focus is both applied and theoretical and it seeks articles from a diverse range of themes and countries.

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