Chapter 1 - A closer look at student outcomes

Table of Contents


This chapter aims to address the question of whether Ontario has the appropriate mix of labour market focused credentials to meet student needs by providing a synthesis of our findings from the Ontario graduate data.

Defining student need

We analyze alignment between Ontario’s credential mix and student needs by considering a wide range of student outcomes, guided by the following questions: Do students graduate from their programs? Do graduates achieve their desired labour market outcomes, and does their ability to achieve desired labour market outcomes vary by credential type? Are graduates satisfied with their outcomes and does graduate satisfaction vary by credential type?3

Data sources

Our data are drawn from four data sources:

  1. Graduation rates supplied by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
  2. Ontario’s graduate outcome surveys, which are used by colleges and universities to report on provincially mandated key performance indicators (KPI):
    • Ontario College Graduate Outcomes/Graduate Satisfaction Survey (GOSS)
    • Ontario College Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS)
    • Ontario University Graduate Survey (OUGS) (note that this survey is administered to graduates of Bachelor’s degree programs only)
  3. Labour Force Survey – Captures outcomes for all Ontario postsecondary education (PSE) graduates which helps us understand how PSE graduates fare as they have opportunities to gain more work experience
  4. National Household Survey – Captures outcomes for all Ontario PSE graduates and allows analysis of outcomes of older workers by field of study (only available every five years)

3 Note that ideally we would have also considered demand and access issues, such as whether student demand varies by credential type, or the extent to which students with different levels of ability and career goals have access to suitable credentials in their field of interest. However due to a variety of reasons, including cost, SRDC was not able to efficiently obtain the necessary data for an analysis of student demand and access. Thus, this chapter only addresses alignment with student need from the perspective of graduation rates and graduate outcomes.