In 2014, Child and Youth Network partners (http://londoncyn.ca/) decided to work toward improving the high school graduation rate in London. To do so, CYN partners began a research process aimed at engaging young people in the community in order to develop youth-led solutions to the challenges that young people face in completing high school. In summer 2015, a team of young people were hired to begin this work. This team engaged with almost 700 young people to discuss challenges they faced or were facing that impacted their likelihood of graduation. These conversations formed the basis for a theory of change linking a variety of leadership and educational opportunities with increased high school graduation rates.
In 2016, the CYN partnered with the London Youth Advisory Council to pressure test that theory of change. The LYAC conducted interviews with young people who did not complete high school or who had seriously considered leaving high school, distributed a survey aimed at the same group, and conducted interviews with adults who had experience working with or as part of the education system. The goal in each case was to better understand the barriers and challenges that exist for young people in high school, as well as to make sure we were clear on what support systems already existed. We also looked closely at the way graduation rates are measured, and ways to incorporate technology into solutions.
This second phase of the work resulted in several documents (below), including recommendations for a revised theory of change, a learning brief about how high school graduation rates are measured, a literature review, and a learning brief based on the interviews conducted with young people.
For more information, or to talk more with our team about the pressure testing findings, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!