York University Partners with Government of Ontario: Project Aims to Enhance Data-Informed Decision Making


York University is partnering with the Government of Ontario‎ to conduct leading-edge research with the potential to transform educational programming and inform targeted approaches to addressing the needs of students. This research will take the form of a feasibility study into collecting additional province-wide‎ data to further inform understanding of student populations and school communities, as well as address the principles outlined in the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario.

The study will include:

• Review of current data collection requirements and identify promising practices to collect additional student-level data;

• Identify points for consideration for school boards and the Ministry to inform collection and effective use of additional student-level data, including the potential for embedding within existing data collection processes;

• Identify the proposed variables, instrument(s) and frequency;

• Examination of the rationale and relevant risks;

• Highlight promising practices in decision-making, implementation and communication of findings;

• Provision of guidelines and assessment of related cost requirements for the collection of such data including the collection approach, supports to ensure the submission of complete and valid data and considerations in ensuring comparability where there are already existing local collections.

The study could potentially further support educators and educational policy-makers in making enhanced decisions about supporting student achievement and well-being across the province, and may include recommendations that suggest approaches for developing revised data collection expectations for all of Ontario’s school boards.

Donna Quan, Director of Education at the Toronto District School Board, has accepted the position of Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University to lead this project and will report directly to the Deputy Minister of Education.

With more than 30 years of experience in education and her leadership role with Canada’s largest school board, York University welcomes Ms. Quan to her leadership role in this dynamic project.


Ron Owston, Dean of Education, York University
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Ministry in gaining valuable insight into aspects of education that are very consistent with our commitment to equity and social justice,” says Ron Owston, Dean of Education, York University.  “We welcome Donna Quan as a member of our adjunct faculty to lead this effort and we look forward to her contribution to this important project’s success.”

Donna Quan, Director, Toronto District School Board
“I am very excited to lead this project which has the promise of creating new ways for critical data to drive improvement in student achievement and success in schools across Ontario.”

The Government’s renewed goals for education are:

•  Achieving Excellence: Children and students of all ages will achieve high levels of academic performance, acquire valuable skills and demonstrate good citizenship. Educators will be supported in learning continuously and will be recognized as among the best in the world.

• Ensuring Equity: All children and students will be inspired to reach their full potential, with access to rich learning experiences that begin at birth and continue into adulthood.

• Promoting Well-Being: All children and students will develop enhanced mental and physical health, a positive sense of self and belonging, and the skills to make positive choices.

• Enhancing Public Confidence: Ontarians will continue to have confidence in a publicly funded education system that helps develop new generations of confident, capable and caring citizens.

The study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2017.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our 52,000 students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 24 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide.

Media Contact: 
Joanne Rider, York University, 416-736-5593 / jrider@yorku.ca