Youth's Passage Through School to Work: A Comparative, Longitudinal Study


132 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55077-048-9
DDC 305.23'5'09713541




Genevieve Cherwinski is a co-operative education and family studies
teacher in St. John’s, Newfoundland.


This book is the result of a 17-year study conducted in Toronto on why
students drop out of school. The authors measured the progress of
approximately 450 students (age 13 and up) from three groups—a
downtown control group, a downtown experimental group, and an uptown
control group. While the latter enjoyed certain cultural and social
benefits, those in the downtown experimental group (known as Eastside)
were put on an intervention program of tutoring, supervised paid work,
counselling, recreation, and home visits. Despite the intervention,
however, the Eastside group showed few noticeable benefits, and midway
through the program only half were still participating. Subsequent
research blamed this on a lack of parental encouragement, youth
financial needs, and conflicting values between family, friends, school,
and the workplace.

While the conclusions are significant, the authors’ methods and
approach are confusing. The anecdotal evidence appears superfluous in
places, and the combining of the downtown control and experimental
groups makes the argument difficult to follow. To add to the confusion,
the three groups had different startup times, which could have affected
the results.

On the positive side, the study does provide some practical advice to
educators on planning curricula and teaching methods. It recommends that
if an intervention program is to be introduced, it must begin before
Grade 8, because behavior, beliefs, and self-awareness are already
established by the age of 13. It also recommends looking at such
programs as paid co-operative education. Recent experience shows that
payment is not always necessary for success. In order to design programs
that meet student needs, the school must work with parents and the
community to establish learning experiences that are sufficiently
relevant, challenging, and confidence-boosting to motivate students to
continue their education. A unified set of values should contribute to a
more productive society with lower unemployment levels.


Crysdale, Stewart, and Harry MacKay., “Youth's Passage Through School to Work: A Comparative, Longitudinal Study,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,