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Key Performance Indicators for Career Colleges

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (Ministry) developed five new Key Performance Indicators for the career college sector and began collecting the enrollment/graduate data required to calculate and publish Key Performance Indicators from OSAP-approved career colleges in  2013, and for all career colleges in 2015. 

General Background

Why is the ministry implementing Key Performance Indicators for career colleges?

Both the Ontario Auditor General (2011) and the Drummond Commission (2012) recommended that the ministry collect, validate and publish performance indicators in the career college sector in order to help prospective students make more informed decisions around their postsecondary education and to allow the ministry to better oversee career colleges in the sector. In response to these recommendations, and to promote student protection and the provision of quality vocational training, the ministry committed to implement Key Performance Indicators in the career college sector on a full cost recovery basis, by summer 2013. Key Performance Indicators are also needed to provide quality assurance for higher-risk programs provided by career colleges (e.g., Dental Hygiene, Pharmacy Technician, Sonography, Esthetics, Truck Driving) and will help the ministry deliver on its commitment to the federal government to designate postsecondary institutions eligible to enroll international students and ensure they are delivering quality training.

What are the benefits of Key Performance Indicators?

The purpose of Key Performance Indicators is to measure career college student experiences in a way that helps prospective students and their families make an informed choice on which program and career college to select. Key Performance Indicators are being developed to: 
 Provide students, parents and employers with information about career college programs;
 Ensure accountability for the expenditure of public funds (e.g., OSAP, Second Career, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board funding);
 Help career colleges identify areas of strength and concern so that they can develop improvement strategies;

 Allow career colleges to attract more students by using the data gained from the indicators in their advertising;

 Enable program and institutional comparability with Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Key Performance Indicators;

 Allow the ministry to help fulfill its mandate to support higher quality post-secondary educational programming;

 Help provide quality assurance for programs delivered via distance education; and

 Inform the ministry’s future designated policy framework relating to career colleges eligible for accepting international students (federal government commitment).

What Key Performance Indicators will be published for career colleges?

The following five Key Performance Indicators will be calculated and published for career colleges in the sector:

1. Graduation Rate;

2. Graduate Employment Rate;

3. Graduate Employment Rate in the Field of Study;

4. Graduate Satisfaction; and

5. Employer Satisfaction.

How will Key Performance Indicators be implemented in the career college sector?

In fall 2012, the ministry underwent a competitive procurement process and signed a contract with Forum Research Inc. for data collection, analysis and reporting processes required to calculate and publish Key Performance Indicators for career colleges.

For the purposes of calculating and publishing Key Performance Indicators, career colleges will be required to submit two types of data files to report on all entrants (enrolment data file) and all graduates (graduate data file) within a specific defined Term.

Forum will use the data provided in these files to:
 Calculate graduation rates for vocational programs; and
 Contact, validate and survey career college graduates six months after graduation in order to calculate the remaining four Key Performance Indicators – Graduate Employment Rate, Graduate Employment Rate in the Field of Study, Graduate Satisfaction and Student Satisfaction. Only the first two Key Performance Indicators will be calculated and published for the 2013 collection cycle

How do Career College Key Performance Indicators, and the processes used to calculate these Indicators, compare to those in the public college sector?

Key Performance Indicators for career colleges closely mirror those published in the public college sector, with the exception of Graduate Employment in the Field of Study. Research with the career college sector clearly supported this performance indicator as being “very useful” to career colleges, current and prospective students and employers. Also, in its 2011 report on career colleges, the Ontario Auditor General specifically referenced this indicator as an important outcome measure for graduates of career college.


The enrolment and graduate data files and surveys that will be used to collect data from career colleges and their graduates, respectively, closely mirror those used in the public college sector. Forum Research Inc. was also the successful vendor for Key Performance Indicator services in the public college sector in winter 2012.

Graduate Outcomes and Employer Satisfaction Surveys
What does the Graduate Outcomes Survey for career college graduates look like?

The Graduate Outcomes Survey developed to collect performance outcome data from career college graduates contains 24 questions, including a number of questions to validate that the individual contacted on the phone is the intended graduate and those that will be used to calculate the four survey based Key Performance Indicators: Graduate Employment Rate, Graduate Employment in the Field of Study, Graduate Satisfaction and Employer Satisfaction.


While the career college Graduate Outcomes Survey is much shorter, the questions included in this survey mirror those used in the public college sector’s Graduate Outcomes Survey.

What does the Employer Satisfaction Survey for employers of career college graduates look like?

The Employer Satisfaction Survey is administered to employers of career college graduates who have consented (through the Graduate Outcomes Survey) to have their employer contacted. The Employer Satisfaction Survey includes two key questions: one confirming that the graduate in question was employed and the second asking the employer to rate his/her satisfaction with the employee’s overall career college preparation for the type of work he/she was doing

Will wrong numbers or refusals to complete the survey negatively impact my Key Performance Indicators?

No, for calculation of the survey-based Key Performance Indicators (all except Graduation Rate), the denominator includes all graduates in the labour force, where labour force is defined as those employed, those not employed but looking for a job, or those not employed but who had accepted a job to start shortly. Only graduates that are successfully contacted by phone and consent to complete the Graduate Outcomes Survey are included in the final Key Performance Indicator calculations. Please note, additional quality assurance reviews will be conducted for institutions where statistically significant data integrity/refusal rates are observed.


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