The overall goal of the present study was to examine the employment experience of postsecondary graduates with learning disabilities (LD) in the province of Ontario. More specifically, employment success, job satisfaction, impact of LD within a job setting and experience with employment transition services during postsecondary education were examined. Utilizing a uniform and current definition of LD (LDAO, 2001), this study surveyed graduates from 20 of Ontario’s colleges and universities to capture their employment experiences. The research was conducted through Ontario’s two Assessment and Resource Centres (ARCs), which collectively provide comprehensive psycho-educational assessments for students enrolled in Ontario’s postsecondary institutions. The pool of participants for the study included graduates of postsecondary institutions who had received a diagnosis of LD from these centres between the years 2004/05 and 2007/08 and who had entered the labour market.
Key Findings from the Study
• Findings regarding the employment status of graduates with LD from Ontario’s colleges and universities showed that since graduation, 69.1% of the sample reported being employed on either a full-time or a part-time basis, while 16.4% reported being
unemployed. In addition, 10.9% indicated that they had returned to school, and 3.6% reported their occupational status as that of homemaker. The main findings regarding the impact of LD in the workplace centred on strategies to manage the impact of LD on these individuals, disclosure of their learning disabilities and the consequences of disclosure:
1. Low-profile, low-technology strategies such as time management and support from friends and family were favoured over highly visible or high-technology strategies such as assistive technology and self-advocacy.
2. The majority of respondents (71.9%) indicated that their LD impacted their performance in the workplace, yet the majority (62%) also chose not to disclose their LD in this setting.
3. The reasons for not disclosing were cited as fear of being judged, embarrassment and a belief that the LD did not impact job duties.
4. Gender, age, type of institution and job satisfaction were related with selfdisclosure in the workplace, with females, older students, college students (relative to university) and those indicating lower levels of job satisfaction being more likely to disclose their disability.
• Regarding job satisfaction, the sample reported being satisfied with their current employment, as 70.8% of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with eight different aspects of job satisfaction. Differences in salary level, strategies used on the job to reduce LD impact and self-disclosure of LD occurred relative to job atisfaction. Job satisfaction and salary levels were higher for individuals who used more strategies
4 – Employment Experience of Ontario’s Postsecondary Graduates with Learning Disabilities on the job to reduce LD impact but not for those who engaged in more self-disclosure about their disability.
• Similar to the general Ontario college population, career services were not used to a great degree by this group of students. Work experiences such as co-op placements and job search training were accessed by approximately one-quarter of survey respondents.
• Focus interviews conducted post survey highlighted respondents’ sensitivity to their information-processing-speed problems and the extra time required to complete tasks relative to the time taken by coworkers. Comments regarding self-disclosure in the workplace tended to be negative, while comments pertaining to job satisfaction were typically positive. The respondents emphasized the valuable role played by disability services offices on various college and university campuses.
• For the most part, students with LD graduating from Ontario’s colleges and universities are obtaining employment that they find satisfying.
• LD continues its impact in the lives of these students, with the majority of them stating that such traits as slower speed of information processing, spelling and reading impede their performance on the job.
• LD graduates in the workplace often choose not to disclose their disability, primarily citing reasons of judgment and embarrassment as preventing them from making the
• This group of graduates with LD accessed the career services offered on the campuses of Ontario’s colleges and universities infrequently but at a rate similar to that of their nondisabled peers.
• The present study highlights areas very much in need of further exploration, including factors underlying the disconnect between stated LD impact on the job and unwillingness to disclose a disability in the workplace. The limited use of career services is a new and surprising finding. In addition, the preference for low-technology strategies over technological accommodations in the workplace is in need of further analysis.
A continued need exists for community college administrators to develop and implement strategies to ensure sufficient staffing to meet demand for online courses and promote student success. The problem this study addressed was threefold. First, online instructors in the local setting are overextended and are consequently unable to implement best practices. Because overextended online instructors cannot offer the presence and feedback needed to promote success, online student performance as measured by final course grades suffers. Another problem was that the current institutional system encourages overload teaching assignments. Finally, increased teaching loads can have negative ramifications on online instructor attentiveness, student performance, and academic rigor. The purpose of this descriptive quantitative study was to collect relevant data to examine the relationships among (a) online instructor employment status, (b) online instructor teaching load, and (c) online student performance at a community college. The study used both comparative and correlational research designs to address the research questions using ex post facto data. No statistically significant correlations were found between student success and employment status. However, a negative correlation was discovered between course overload and
student success as measured by final course grades and completion rates. Recommendations for future
research include an examination of seniority and tenure status of faculty and a wider geographic and
institutional type study to ensure generalizability of the results.
Culturally authoritative texts such as Text Revision of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual-IV [DSM-IVTR](
American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2004) describe literate impossibility for individuals with disability labels associated
with severe developmental disabilities. Our qualitative research challenges the assumptions of perpetual subliteracy
authoritatively embedded within the DSM-IV-TR (APA, 2004). U. S. education policy also confronts, at least rhetorically, assumed
hopelessness with reading and writing remediation in schools. Most recently, the federal government has directed national
concern toward issues of literacy acquisition and child failure through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). One
description of NCLB provided by the U.S. Department of Education (2004) suggested universal literacy was a primary objective.
However, our research suggests that the NCLB statute appears to emphasize a restrictive standardization as the route to
universal literacy that would in fact leave out many people with severe developmental disabilities.
Purpose of Research: In this analysis and synthesis of our recent qualitative and ethnographic studies, we specifically describe the dimensions of local understanding that foster citizenship in the literate community for individuals commonly acted upon as hopelessly aliterate, subliterate, or illiterate due to assumptions surrounding their degree of disability. We contrast these descriptions of local understanding with U.S. education policy that mandates what we believe to be a singular, narrow, and rigid approach to early or initial written language instruction.
When presented with new material, standards, and complicated topics, we need to be focused and calm as we approach our assignments. We can use brain breaks and focused-attention practices to positively impact our emotional states and learning. They refocus our neural circuitry with either stimulating or quieting practices that generate increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, where problem solving and emotional regulation occur.
Operating at the interface between ideas and action, graduate education in geography and planning has a responsibility to provide students with theoretical and practical training. This paper describes service-learning as a form of engaged pedagogy, exploring its ability to interrogate notions related to the “professional turn” and its contributions to transformative learning. Using a case study of a graduate-level service-learning course at the University of Toronto, we address the challenges associated with service-learning and high- light opportunities for students, faculty, universities, and community organizations. Our case study is based on assessment and analysis of the course and contributions to student learning, professional development, and community engagement. We contend that, at the graduate level, service-learning is an underutilized
pedagogical tool. Service-learning can impart high-demand skills to graduate students by transforming how students learn and move from knowledge into ideas and ultimately action, and by offering opportunities for developing higher-order reasoning and critical thinking.
Responsible ethics evaluation is the heart of Canada’s research community, but some believe that the evaluation process could be better tailored for the college sector.
Student requests for academic accommodations are increasing across university campuses, and Bruce Pardy, Professor of Law at Queen’s University, believes students are taking advantage of available accommodations, such as extra time on exams, to get ahead of their peers.
Pardy argues against providing accommodation with this analogy: that if Andre De Grasse asked for a 20-metre head start in the recent World Track and Field Championships to accommodate for his injury, no one would take him seriously. This comparison assumes that academic accommodations give disabled students an advantage over others. The difference, however, between De Grasse and students with a mental illness, is that students are not asking for a 20-metre head start; mental illness and other disabilities are setbacks which have students starting the race from 20-meteres behind the starting blocks. The purpose of accommodation is not to give them an edge over other students, but to bring them forward to the starting line with everyone else.
The ability to solve problems and think critically are considered by many to be desired outcomes of the education system, both within K-12 and higher education. They are ever-present skills measured by many accreditation frameworks in the professional and higher education sectors, and consistently rank among the top skills and abilities desired in graduates, according to employer surveys (Hart Research Associates, 2008; 2013). Despite this prevalence, critical thinking and problem solving are often identified by employers as skills that require more emphasis in higher education (Hart Research Associates, 2008; Arum & Roksa, 2011). Recent evidence questions the degree to which current undergraduate education supports the development of critical thinking and complex problem solving skills (Arum & Roksa, 2011; Astin, 1993a; 1993b; Blaich & Wise, 2008; Klein et al., 2009; Pascarella, Blaich, Martin & Hanson, 2011). The development of critical thinking skills (CTS) is itself a complex issue, complicated by a lack of agreement on the definition of critical thinking and on an associated framework for its development (Ku, 2009). Popular frameworks of critical thinking include the Cornell-Illinois model (Ennis, Millman & Tomko, 1985), the Paul-Elder model (Paul & Elder, 2005; Paul & Elder, 1996), the CLA model (Shavelson, 2008), the APA Delphi model (Facione, 1990), and Halpern’s Model for Critical Thinking (Halpern, 1999; Halpern & Riggio, 2002). Each of these frameworks or models proposes a different definition for critical thinking and a different set of skills, traits and abilities that comprise it. Instruction and assessment of CTS is also an area of particular difficulty, with the efficacy of pedagogical strategies for critical thinking development and the authenticity of critical thinking assessment under much scrutiny (Bensley & Murtagh, 2011; Solon, 2003).
This longitudinal mixed method study collected quantitative data from 151 students with Learning Disabilities (LD) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Of these,117 students attended a combination of focus groups and personal interviews and shared their postsecondary education (PSE) experiences as persons with disabilities. The quantitative and qualitative data collection was carried out over two and a half years at the Centre for Students with Disabilities, which provides support and accommodations to college and university students within a shared campus environment at Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the educational quality of the existing student service programs designed to ensure PSE access for students with LD and/or ADHD, who are an under-represented and at-risk population. Specifically, the study set out to measure and explore the effect of the Summer Transition Program (STP) and enhanced services on promoting students’ engagement, academic performance and, ultimately, their ongoing success throughout PSE.
The Ministry’s STP funding is earmarked for students with LD. However, the Ministry recognizes that students with LD have high comorbid rates of AD/HD. The STP is offered prior to the commencement of the fall semester to give students with LD and/or ADHD a chance to learn evidence-based learning strategies, self-determination skills and the use of assistive
technologies that promote PSE success without the added pressure and demands of a PSE course load. The STP curriculum is delivered in August, in a classroom setting in the morning and in a computer lab in the afternoon. Each day has a specific theme and content is designed to enhance knowledge and skills, such as time management. LD-specific supports were found to improve student outcomes, and the ongoing enhanced supports were believed to ensure accessibility.
This study’s most optimistic finding was the positive association between attendance at the STP and use of enhanced services. The study’s findings demonstrate that the STP improves the quality of students’ transition to PSE by first facilitating an earlier intake requirement and then helping students acquire psychoeducational assessments. STP students complete this process before the academic year begins in September.
Students who did not attend STP (NSTP students) described an overall lengthier and more complicated intake process. Findings from this study demonstrate that the STP improves students’ orientation to campus, orientation to services, disability awareness and willingness to self-advocate. STP also promotes their use of student services. On the other hand, when examining the impact of the STP alone, there were no differences between STP and NSTP students in their likelihood of earning a GPA above 2.0 for any of the first five semesters. The sample groups were self-selected or parentally selected. This sample selection could not be controlled for due to ethical reasons and the limited sample size; this may have decreased the measurable effect. A combination of the two programs was found to enhance academic performance.
This report evaluates the impact of the University of Windsor Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Mentorship Program (FASSMP) on students, mentors and instructors. The FASSMP was established in 2005 in order to address issues of enrolment and retention by enhancing the first-year experience. The program addressed this challenge by integrating peer mentors into first-year foundation courses as a way to help students transition to university.
Co-operative education was one of the University of Waterloo’s (UW) defining characteristics when it opened in 1957 and it remains a foundational pillar today. With the support of its 4,500 employer partners, UW offers alternating terms of academic and workplace experience to more than 16,500 students from more than 120 different academic programs. These figures make UW the largest postsecondary co-op program in the world.
Maintaining strong employer relationships has been a critical success factor for UW’s co-op program. Both the relevant literature and the feedback received from employers have indicated that employability skills (communication, interpersonal skills, problem solving, etc.) are essential to success in today’s workplace (Hodges & Burchell, 2003; McMurtrey, Downey, Zeltmann & Friedman, 2008; Casner-Lotto & Barrington, 2006). A number of studies also indicate that employers are not satisfied with the employability skills of new graduates (Casner-Lotto & Barrington, 2006; AC Neilsen, 2000; Hart Research Associates, 2010).
The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) has been engaged through a competitive process by the Ontario Ministry of Education (hereafter “the Ministry”) to evaluate the extent to which the Student Success/Learning to 18 Strategy (hereafter “the SS/L18 Strategy”) as currently implemented is aligned with the Ministry’s three overarching goals and is producing the intended
outcomes related to its specific five goals. The evaluation process is composed of two main phases. This Stage 1 report provides a description and chronology of the SS/L18 Strategy-related changes; a catalogue and preliminary analysis of source documents relevant to the initiative; the results of an analysis of interviews with 39 respondents identified for the initial stage of the evaluation; the results of four focus groups conducted with Student Success Leaders (SSLs); preliminary
observations about the conduct of the SS/L18 Strategy, its strengths and vulnerabilities, as well as some preliminary recommendations for the future of the Strategy.
Student evaluations of teaching reflect students’ biases and are otherwise unreliable. So goes much of criticism of these evaluations, or SETs. Increasingly, research backs up both of those concerns.
On the other side of the debate, SET proponents acknowledge that these evaluations are imperfect indicators of teaching quality. Still, proponents argue that well-designed SETs inevitably tell us something valuable about students’ learning experiences with a given professor.
Making work-integrated learning a fundamental part of the Canadian undergraduate experience is one of several commitments recently made by Canada’s Business/Higher Education Roundtable – a year-old organization representing some of the country’s leading companies and post-secondary institutions.
In June 2008, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) released a Request for Proposals (RFP-006) offering funding for Ontario universities and colleges to evaluate existing programs or services intended to promote access, retention and educational quality among postsecondary students. Brock University was successful in their proposal to evaluate two services offered through the Student Development Centre’s Learning Skills Services:
1. the Online Writing Skills Workshop (OWSW) (later known as Essay-Zone (EZ), an online writing course designed and operated by Learning Skills Services; and 2. the learning skills workshops and one-on-one/drop-in services offered by Learning Skills Services. The evaluation of the Online Writing Skills Workshop was completed in fall 2010 with the assistance of Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), formerly Education Policy Institute (EPI) Canada. This report, published separately by the HEQCO, is based on the evaluation of other learning skills services, including workshops on critical thinking, math, science and essay writing skills (see Appendix A), as well as the individualized assistance provided through the one-on-one/drop-in service. In evaluating these services, we have sought to answer two broad questions. First, are the services offered being delivered effectively and what improvements can be made? Second, what effect do the identified learning skills services have on academic outcomes? The responses to these questions will be presented in two parts: first, a formative evaluation of program delivery and second, a summative evaluation focusing on student outcomes.
The formative evaluation will examine the delivery and image of the learning skills services. Using student survey and focus group data, we will evaluate the perceived efficacy of the services among participants, participants’ satisfaction with aspects of the services and the success of overall communication about the services, as well as recommending changes. The evaluation of communications will examine how students learn about services offered and why students decide not to enroll in the services.
The summative evaluation focuses primarily on the impact of the learning skills services provided. Two measures of academic success will be examined: academic performance (i.e., marks) and student retention. The administrative data concerning three cohorts of students will be used to determine whether participants in learning skills workshops and other learning skills services experience greater academic performance and higher levels of retention compared to other students. In addition, we will examine whether certain categories of services are more effective and whether frequency of service use affects outcomes. As the learning skills workshops and other services are very limited interventions requiring little time of students,strong results were not expected; however, even minor improvements would be impressive given the relatively small time investment required of students.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has linked data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) of teachers of 15-year-old students with school-level data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a survey of 15-year-old students. The purpose of this study is to present an exploratory analysis of the combined TALIS-PISA data by examining the relationship of school-level student measures to teacher outcomes. In other words, this paper examines how student factors in a school may influence teachers’ work, their attitudes, and their perceived needs for support. Survey responses were collected from teachers and students in eight countries. Data from 26 610 teachers were combined with student measures, aggregated by school, from 103 077 students.
Presentation courses are becoming more prevalent at Japanese universities. This paper focuses on one small cohort of students (n=5) that took an elective presentation skills course at Nanzan University. The paper initially looks at some of the salient themes related to teaching presentation skills and then outlines the design of the course. The main focus of the paper is on the students’ reflective comments on the course and how it affected their presentation skills. Finally, some example guidelines are offered for teachers who are teaching similar courses
Presentation courses are becoming more prevalent at Japanese universities. This paper focuses on one small cohort of students (n=5) that took an elective presentation skills course at Nanzan University. The paper initially looks at some of the salient themes related to teaching presentation skills and then outlines the design of the course. The main focus of the paper is on the students’ reflective comments on the course and how it affected their presentation skills. Finally, some example guidelines are offered for teachers who are teaching similar courses.
Much of our work as educators consists of designing and delivering experiences in which students can develop their understanding and application of concepts and skills in our disciplines. Given that we have only 16 weeks with our students, we need various ways for deepening and expanding these formative experiences in our field. Visiting experts can be a wonderful way of developing expertise, and leveraging online tools like Skype and Zoom can open up powerful possibilities for new collaboration and conversation.