Toronto District School Board
Skip to main content

Academic Pathways

Academic Path Ways PDF  Fact Sheet: Academic Pathways 2020

Academic Pathways - Grade 9 and 10

Student success drives everything we do in the Toronto District School Board. Our focus is to ensure that every student receives a great education by having equitable access to programs and resources and increased opportunities.

As part of the Board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan, we are committed to working over the course of three years to support the majority of students to study academic courses for Grades 9 and 10. Our research tells us that students who choose an academic program of study generally experience more positive outcomes than students who select an applied program of study. Our research also tells us that students in academic courses generally experience higher achievement in courses beyond Grade 10, greater success in post-secondary programs and maintain increased pathway options beyond high school (e.g. college, university, apprenticeship, workplace). We are committed to ensuring that students are not limited in their choices beyond high school, based on the courses selected in Grade 9 and 10. 

Since 2009, the TDSB has experienced a 9% increase in the percentage of students enrolled in Grade 9 academic math courses vs. Grade 9 applied math courses. During this same time period, standardized test results have remained strong. When the bar is raised and expectations are high, and with the right supports in place, students can and will succeed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of Grade 9 & 10 Academic?

Research has shown that students enrolled in academic courses:

  • Experience higher achievement in courses beyond Grade 10
  • Have access to increased post-secondary pathway options (college, university, apprenticeship and workplace) 
  • Achieve greater success in post-secondary programs

Why is the TDSB doing this now and what is the timeline?
As part of the Board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan, we have established an Action Plan that will be implemented over a three-year period, with a goal that by September 2021, the majority of Grade 9 and 10 students will be successful in all academic compulsory courses. We believe that every student can succeed and we know that we have to start early and provide classroom interventions to support this work. 

How will all students be successful in academic level course? What supports will be available?
Schools want all students to succeed and they know that some students will need extra help to catch up or keep up. Student success will be supported in a number of ways, including:

  • Implementation teams at schools are developing programs to support students to meet the expectations in academic courses. 
  • Special Education teachers and support staff, and Student Success teachers will work with classroom teachers to develop and implement specific strategies to help students meet program expectations. 
  • The school implementation team will communicate specific support programs to the community, along with how students/parents/guardians can access the support they need. 

What does this mean for students with special education needs? Will these students be able to enrol in academic courses? What supports will be provided?
We are working with all classroom educators to build their capacity to support students in an inclusive learning environment. Teachers will support the learning of students with special education needs by providing the accommodations and modifications outlined in the student’s individual education plan (IEP). In limited circumstances, additional course choices will be available to students.

Additional Information

TDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan Action Plan: Grade 9 and 10 Academic

As part of the Board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan, we are committed to working over the course of three years to support the majority of students to study academic courses for Grades 9 and 10. Learn more about the goals of the action plan and how we plan to achieve them.

High School Students Encouraged to Start in Academic Stream
An editorial by John Malloy, Director of Education that focuses on the importance of encouraging and supporting all students to take advantage of opportunities so that they have as many post-secondary options available to them as possible upon graduation. Appeared on on March 1, 2019

Director’s Webcast: Helping Students Reach Their Full Potential 
John Malloy, Director of Education, speaks with leaders in education on helping students reach their full potential. Topics include: Academics Pathways, Global Competencies, Math and Numeracy, and Special Education. Aired live on January 29, 2019


If you have questions about Grade 9-10 Academic Pathways, please speak directly with your child’s teacher and/or the Principal at your school.