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What is the Youth in Transition Survey?

What are its objectives?

The Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) is a new Canadian longitudinal survey that collects information about major transitions in young people’s lives, particularly those between education, training and work. Survey results will help provide a deeper understanding of the nature and causes of problems young people face as they manage school-work transitions. Information obtained from the survey will help to support policy planning and decision-making that address these problems.

More explicitly, there are ten objectives of YITS:

  1. To examine key transitions in the lives of youth (transition from high school to post secondary schooling, initial transition from schooling to the labour market).
  2. To better understand educational and labour market pathways and the factors influencing these pathways.
  3. To identify educational and occupational pathways that provide a smoother transition to the labour market.
  4. To examine the incidence, characteristics, factors, and effects of leaving school.
  5. To understand the impact of school effects on educational and occupational outcomes.
  6. To examine the contribution of work experience programs, part-time jobs, and volunteer activities to skill development and transition to the labour market.
  7. To study the attitudes, behaviours, and skills of young people entering the labour market.
  8. To gain a better understanding of the determinants of post-secondary entry and post-secondary retention, including education financing.
  9. To better understand the role of educational and labour market aspirations and expectations in investment in further education and career choice.
  10. To explore the educational and occupational pathways o f various sub-groups, particularly "youth at risk."

Who is participating in YITS, and why?

Two different age groups are participating in YITS, a 15 year-old cohort and an 18 to 20 year-old cohort. This includes 30,000 youth aged 15, who come from 1,200 different schools across Canada. As well, 23,000 youth aged 18 to 20 years old are participating.

Data from the 15 year-old group will permit analysis of long-term school-work transitions. Information was gathered in the first survey cycle on youth’s school experiences, achievements, aspirations and expectations, and initial employment experiences. In order to obtain more precise information on skills and knowledge, youth in this cohort also completed achievement tests as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Additionally, one parent of each 15 year-old youth took part in YITS to provide supplementary information on their family background.

Results from the 18 to 20 year-old group will provide more immediate policy relevant information relating to transitions between work and school. Information gathered included transitions to post-secondary education and to the labour market.

How is YITS conducted? When is it taking place?

The first cycle of YITS for the 15 year-old cohort was administered in schools along with the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Data collection took place in April and May, 2000.

For participants 18 to 20 years of age, the survey was administered by telephone. Data collection took place between January and March, 2000.

Parents of the 15 year-old youth were interviewed by telephone in June, 2000

Current plans are to survey both cohorts every two years, for a period of several years. In subsequent cycles of YITS, respondents will participate in a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI).

What are the advantages of a longitudinal survey?

Most surveys provide a "snapshot" of the group being surveyed; that is, a picture of a situation at a specific point in time. A longitudinal survey, on the other hand, involves surveying the same group of people over a period of time. By linking records for the same panel of respondents over time, a longitudinal survey permits the study of relationships between factors measured in one period (e.g., aspirations, attitudes, behaviours, and achievement) with outcomes measured in future time periods (e.g., educational attainment, occupational outcomes, earnings).

Another advantage of a longitudinal survey is that respondents are interviewed frequently and are required to recall only recent events, thus improving data quality. Reports of attitudes and motivations for behaviours, for example, would be different if measured retrospectively than they would be if measured closer to the time they occur. In this respect, interviewing YITS respondents every two years will help to avoid recall bias.

When will the results of YITS be available?

Survey results for Cycle 1 for both the 15 year-old and 18 to 20 year-old cohorts are now available -- see the publications section.

Additional documentation related to YITS and PISA can be found in the publications section.

Who is conducting YITS?

YITS is an initiative of Employment and Social Development Canada, and is carried out in collaboration with Statistics Canada.

YITS Contact Informations

For further information on the Youth in Transition Survey, contact the following people.

At Employment and Social Development Canada:
Skills Development Research Division
Policy Research Directorate
Strategic Policy and Research
140 Promenade du Portage
Phase IV, 3rd Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0J9
Tel.: (819) 994-2621
Fax: (819) 934-6137
Contact us by e-mail

At Statistics Canada:
Client Services
Culture Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics
Main Building, Room 2001
Tunney's Pasture
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0T6
Tel: (613) 951-7608
Fax: (613) 951-9040
Toll free: 1-800-307-3382


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