Five Years of High School

Is time spent in secondary education too short?

Photo of Mark Carlucci
3 1

Written by

When I was in high school, in Ontario, students with the intention of going to a university were required to take 6 courses labelled Ontario Academic Credits (OAC). These were essentially grade 13 courses. The majority of students entering into university, along with many who did not, spent five years in high school. 

This additional year did not come with a requirement for more credits. Students were required to obtain 30 credits, which would translate into 30 courses over five years. If a student was to take a full four classes a semester, it was possible to obtain 40 credits.

This practice of the OAC/grade 13 year was dropped in 2003 as the province decided to follow suit with the rest of the continent. But graduation requirements have remained the same at 30 credits, and it is still common to see students return for a fifth year (aka Victory Lap). 

What I thought was great about the five years of high school was the freedom to explore. There was time to experience a wide variety of subject areas and just take courses for fun. It also provided an opportunity to take a lighter course load and spend time focusing on a fewer courses at once. 

These days, I hear many students say they are not ready to leave high school after only four years. They don't feel confident that they have developed the skills necessary to go off to post-secondary on their own.

Could spending more time in secondary school provide students the opportunity to better prepare for and more effectively transition to post-secondary?

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

More time in secondary school allows students to experience more and better prepare for moving forward.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Molly McMahon

Hi Mark! Love to see you back! You are always so insightful. This makes me think about conversations about K16 not K12 journey. It would be interesting to research other industries out side of education that faced a similar challenge of combining two systems together, or honing that transition period. One analogous example is is Southwest Airlines and how they reimagined their process to board airplanes, combining pre-boarding and seating practices. What does it make you think of? 

Photo of Mark Carlucci

That is a great idea, looking into how industries have worked through transition periods.
This brings to mind the process of integrating technology into businesses. There are so many observations to be made, looking at how various organizations have transitioned from manual systems to automated ones. I think investigating what processes and systems have been successfully implemented to help employees prepare for and adjust to new systems would be interesting. 

View all comments