Ontario Policy Research Framework – OISE/UT
May 16, 2013
Dan Lang, Professor Emeritus
University of Toronto
Population: students entering college for the first time
Question: Why, when and how plans were formed and
decisions made about transferring to a baccalaureate
Objective: To determine at what point transfer as a
coincidental behaviour became a planned behaviour
and for what reasons
Five Ontario colleges of different types participated in
the study.
Starting from the Institutional Taxonomy developed by
Floyd, Skolnik and Walker:
- Concurrent campus
- University Centre
- Traditional college
- College in a location with no nearby university, but with
articulation elsewhere
- College with a nearby university but with no articulation
General arts and science programs with significant
Exit points after one, two and three years
Two colleges offered internal transfer to baccalaureate
One of the questions on the college surveys of entering students asked
whether students were interested in transfer.
All Students who said yes were invited to information sessions . Sessions were
held at each College.
At the end of information sessions students were invited to participate in the
675 Students participated in the study
The students were split into 2 groups those who were still interested in
transfer (288) and those who were no longer interested in transfer (387).
Both groups completed identical surveys
Students who were still interested in transfer were also invited to participate
in continuation of the study: interviews, access to academic records, and
“tracking” beginning in 2008-2009.
224 students consented to participate
55 students failed to re-register, had their registration
withdrawn, transferred, graduated or withdrew from
the study
Of the remaining 169, 123 were interviewed and
tracked into 2nd and in some cases 3rd year
For the participants in this study –
Transfer means “moving” from one institution to
another regardless of type
It does NOT mean
“moving” from a diploma to a degree
At three different points in the interview students were asked about
the value, quality and reputation of five types of post-secondary
 College
 University
 Polytechnic institute
 University college (for example, Durham College/UOIT)
 Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (for example
Humber College)
 University partnership centre (for example, Georgian College)
Fewer that four % of all respondents recognized the name ITAL, even
those at colleges that were ITALs.
After the final interview – participants were classified as weak, average or
strong (based on final grades in Grade 12 and college GPA)
One of the questions asked during the semi-structured interview was:
In terms of academic difficulty - was college harder or easier than what
A trend emerged:
weak at entry
college harder
became less interested in transfer
strong at entry
college easier
stayed interested in transfer
average students
what they expected or easier
stayed interested
in transfer
Finding: Attending college as a “second chance” to qualify for University is
not a viable option for below average students
Two participating colleges had large numbers of students
 First language was not English
 Had not passed TOEFAL exams or had not studied in an
English-speaking college or university long enough to be
exempt from the university level English language
 Not interested in transfer per se
Finding: These students were interested solely in spending enough time in
an English speaking college to be exempt from university foreign level
language admission requirements.
No interest in credit transfer. Indifferent to college program.
The “Concurrent campus” college
 20% higher rate of transfer than the average rate for
all five participating colleges:
 college also had six university partners offering courses
on campus
 Over 90% of students who transferred from this college
transferred to the university nearest to the college, and
in two programs.
Finding: With one possible exception – type of college did NOT affect
In year prior to commencement of study provincial government
introduced a program of general financial assistance for re-training of
students who had lost jobs:
 At 3 colleges – these students made up significant subset of the
 All had above average GPA’s
 Interest in transfer remained strong
 Exemplified transfer as a coincidental behaviour; students had not
expected to lose jobs and had no prior interest in college or transfer.
 Interest motivated by the government program
 Choice of program motivated by counseling required prior to
application for admission to the government program
Literature and practice presumes a pull vs. push
pattern: students will turn to sources designed to
draw or “pull” them to transfer to university
Choice options in survey and in interviews reflected
this, for example guidance counselors, central
provincial website.
College Web- site not included in choice, but was
single most utilized source
Finding: While one should be cautious about over-generalization, it may be
that as many students are “pushed” towards transfer as are “pulled” toward
it . Counseling plays a larger role than recruitment
At least six different actual “scenarios”.
1. Enter college and transfer to university as soon as possible, regardless of number of credits
transferred or of not earning a college credential.
2. Enter college, graduate with diploma, and qualify for admission to university to a program
unrelated to their college credential. For these students the primary objective was admission. The
number of credits transferred was unimportant or irrelevant.
3. Enter college, graduate with a diploma, and qualify for admission to university in a program
related to their college credential. For these students the primary objective was admission. The
transferability of credits was important but not important enough to affect their university decision.
4 Enter college, graduate with a diploma, and qualify for admission to university in a program related
to their college credential. For these students the admission and transferability of credits were dual
and approximately equal objectives. Transferability of credits was important enough to affect their
university decision.
5. Enter a two-year college program, elect an optional third year, graduate with no immediate plans
to transfer.
6 Enter college, transfer internally to another college diploma program, graduate with no immediate
plans to transfer.
Email: [email protected]
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PPT Slides - OISE - University of Toronto