St. Peter on univer­sity’s list used to judge ap­pli­cants

The Peterborough Examiner - - News - JA­SON BAIN Ex­am­iner Staff Writer ja­[email protected]­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

St. Peter Sec­ondary School is re­port­edly on a list kept by the Univer­sity of Water­loo to judge ap­pli­cants by their high schools and not just their marks, ac­cord­ing to a Thurs­day re­port by Global News.

The list mea­sures the gap be­tween the marks of high school grad­u­ates and the univer­sity’s en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents, dubbed the “ad­just­ment fac­tor” that is used to help make fu­ture ad­mis­sion de­ci­sions, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The ex­is­tence of the list was not a se­cret, but its con­tents were, re­ported Global News, which ob­tained the list un­der On­tario ac­cess-to-in­for­ma­tion laws.

St. Peter is listed at num­ber nine with an av­er­age of 23.5. The school made the list in 2017 and 2018 with re­spec­tive gaps of 24 and 22.9.

Peterborough Vic­to­ria Northum­ber­land and Clar­ing­ton Catholic District School Board of­fi­cials de­clined to com­ment Thurs­day on the as­sess­ment tools that a spe­cific fac­ulty in one On­tario univer­sity uses to vet its ap­pli­cants.

The board cited the “host of vari­ables” as to why a stu­dent’s grade av­er­age could de­cline from high school to univer­sity and how a stu­dent’s mark at the end of first year doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily pre­dict how a stu­dent will progress through univer­sity and into the work­force.

Chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor Bill An­der­son, Water­loo’s en­gi­neer­ing’s ad­mis­sion di­rec­tor for the past decade, called the list “one of our tools in the tool kit to se­lect stu­dents that would be a good fit,” Global News re­ported.

“Ob­vi­ously, we look at grades. We look at the ad­just­ment fac­tor. We look at ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, awards, par­tic­i­pa­tion in events,” he told the broad­caster.

“We also look at po­ten­tial work ex­pe­ri­ence, vol­un­teer ex­pe­ri­ence that looks like work. We also look for some in­di­ca­tion that they know what en­gi­neer­ing is about — what they’re get­ting into, why they’re get­ting into it.”

The list in­cluded some 74 high schools at some point in the 2016, 2017 or 2018 ad­mis­sion cy­cles, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The ad­just­ment fac­tor works in favour of about two-thirds of the schools on the list, be­cause their grad­u­ates have gaps less than the On­tario av­er­age of 16.3.

Grimsby Sec­ondary School, which has topped the list for three years in a row, had the largest gap with an av­er­age of 27.5 from 2016 to 2018. The school is set to be closed af­ter lo­cal school board of­fi­cials voted last year to com­bine three high schools into one.

Global News orig­i­nally re­quested the list in April 2016, but Water­loo re­fused to re­lease it on pri­vacy grounds, lead­ing to an ap­peal to On­tario’s in­for­ma­tion and pri­vacy com­mis­sioner, the broad­caster re­ported.

A rul­ing or­dered the re­lease of the list last June and Water­loo com­plied, opt­ing not to ap­peal the de­ci­sion in court. The univer­sity then vol­un­tar­ily re­leased the data for the 2017 and 2018 ad­mis­sion cy­cles.

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