Graduation Rates Aren’t the Whole Story

What we fund determines what we measure, and what we measure determines what we fund.


The high school graduation rate in the Thames Valley District School Board is about 12 percentage points lower than the Ontario provincial average. Why is this? As data lead on a research project investigating the issue, Matt Ross has some interesting thoughts and perspectives.

In this conversation, Matt and I discuss the reciprocal dilemma of measurement itself: what we measure determines what we fund, and what we fund determines what we measure. This raises the important question, who gets missed in this cyclical feedback loop? We also explore the dilemma of scale: when you want to create an intervention or program to serve a social need, who’s input should take priority in your planning? This chat ranges far beyond high school graduation. (We even talk about the US Consumer Protection Agency.)

Matt Ross (@mattasross) was data lead on a 2016 research project to better understand London’s high school graduation rates, which was instigated by the Child and Youth Network of London. He is a co-founder of the London Youth Advisory Council and is currently working on FillSpaces.com.

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