In Ontario, academics and policy researchers outside of the provincial government (including ONCAT) do not have access to an SLDS-type data source. This has fundamentally shaped the existing research on transfer students in Ontario. Sadly, we know little about the early predictors of transfer behaviour, nor how transfer students perform in PSE net of said early predictors. Over the next two to three years, ONCAT is taking concrete steps to ameliorate this situation. One exciting initiative will pilot large-scale data sharing across K–12 and PSE organizations in the Greater Toronto Area. Our primary goal is to demonstrate to sector stakeholders the utility of administrative linkages for institutional planning, government policy development, and academic research. In the process, we also hope to make significant inroads in the study of transfer research in Ontario.
As part of this effort, we will be publishing some exploratory empirical analyses of transfer using one of the first cross-sector (K–12/PSE) administrative linkages of its kind in Ontario: between the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the University of Toronto. The attendees of our most recent Transfer Advisors Group (TAG) and Francophone Committee meetings have already seen the preliminary findings of this project. We hope that profiling this research more broadly will help to raise awareness about the utility of administrative linkages, and, hopefully, inspire interest on the part of other organizations in participating in a broader GTA pilot.