TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - Pathways to Education, an educational support program for disadvantaged students, has had a significant effect on high-school graduation and postsecondary enrolment, finds a report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Evaluating Student Performance in Pathways to Education," authors Philip Oreopoulos, Robert S. Brown, and Adam Lavecchia, find encouraging results, so far, for Pathways sites in Toronto.
In the Regent Park public housing site, Pathways increased high-school graduation by about 15 percentage points and postsecondary enrolment by 19 percentage points. Impacts from expanding Pathways to two other sites were lower, but still significant.
The Pathways to Education program is a prominent example of a community-driven, comprehensive youth-support program developed to improve academic outcomes among those entering high school from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program includes mentoring, tutoring, counselling, postsecondary transition assistance, and immediate and long-term incentives for students to excel. After starting at Regent Park in Toronto in 2001/2002, the program has expanded across Canada. In addition to three expansion sites in Toronto, the program has been introduced to locations in Halifax, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, Montreal (two locations), Ottawa, Shawinigan, and Sherbrooke, as well as Aboriginal-focused programs in Mashteuiatsh and Winnipeg.
"The Pathways program is an impressive array of supports provided to disadvantaged youth over their entire time in high school," states Oreopoulos. "The expected financial gains alone from being eligible for the program likely offset direct costs. Taking into account other benefits from higher education - like better health, increased job satisfaction, lower crime and lower unemployment - makes the program look all the more promising," he says.
The authors caution that their methodology does not provide a means to disentangle the many possible mechanisms behind the program's success, nor is it able to determine whether the integration of the program's various components is crucial. Education policymakers should seek to understand this question better as they consider Pathway's path forward.
Oreopoulous states that, "if the size of these effects could be replicated in other settings, scaling up the Pathways program, or similar programs, could be a highly effective strategy for helping disadvantaged youth across the country."
For the report go to: http://www.cdhowe.org/evaluating-student-performance-in-pathways-to-education/28527
The C. D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. It is Canada's trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review. It is considered by many to be Canada's most influential think tank.
SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute
For further information: Philip Oreopoulos, Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto; Robert S. Brown, Research Coordinator at the Toronto District School Board; Adam Lavecchia, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto; or Ben Dachis, Senior Policy Analyst at the C.D. Howe Institute, at 416-865-1904; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.