Literacy test results show improvement
For Immediate Release
June 10, 2009
GUELPH, Ontario — Upper Grand students are staying ahead of the provincial average when it comes to success on the Education Quality and Accountability Office’s (EQAO) Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) with the greatest gains being made by the students who study at the applied level.
While overall, grade 10 students in the board’s secondary schools are just one percent ahead of the province, students in the applied level of study are 11% above the provincial average, with English Language Learners (ELL) showing a 77% pass rate. This is up 25% from 2008 and is 11% higher than the average of students across Ontario.
“Having the 30% of our students who study at the applied level reach a 70% success rate is a true student success story,” said Bob Borden, chair of the board. “The amount of work and support provided by teachers that focuses on these students and their learning needs is working.”
The OSSLT is designed to assess reading and writing skills that students are expected to have learned across all subjects by the end of Grade 9, as outlined in the Ontario Curriculum. The test is one of 32 requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma OSSD), along with 30 credits and 40 hours of community service.
Students who do not pass the test the first time may take it again. As a result, 55% of these previously eligible students were successful on further attempts. Students may also opt to take the Ontario Secondary School Literacy course.
Girls still show success rates above boys, 91% to 82% for first time writers, and 60% to 52% for previously eligible students.
The board will place more emphasis on preparing special needs, ELL, and applied level students, and those who are enrolled in locally developed compulsory courses to meet their distinct learning needs and styles.
“There’s always room to improve, Borden remarked.” “We know that. Our overall average depends on helping all the sub-groups achieve at a higher level. This will ensure that we continue on our improvement track in future years.”
The various improvement strategies are based on planning and using information, building capacity and expertise, supports for at-risk students, the use of technology-based learning, and collaboration with other education and community partners. In schools, there are many different activities including:
- mock literacy tests to assess and remediate literacy gaps
- data collation and training teachers to use data in analysis and planning
- sharing literacy best practices in literacy teaching between elementary and secondary schools
- literacy mentors work directly with special needs and ESL students, as well as students taking applied and locally developed courses
- providing remediation for students who must re-write the test
- offering the UGDSB Smart Start After-School Literacy Program, and the Up and Over summer school program for grade 7 and 8 students
- training for teachers on the use of Smart Board technology and classroom applications such as literacy wikis for sharing student work
- ongoing professional development in the area of literacy for school council members, parents
The board’s results are expressed in M2 (method of reporting) for Fully Participating Students: students for whom there is work for the test and who are assigned achievement results. It does not include those not working towards a graduation diploma, are absent or are deferred or excluded.
Provincial, board and school-by-school results are below.
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