83% of Ontario's Grade 10 students pass the 2011 literacy test: Tracking students from Grade 3 to Grade 10 reveals importance of early literacy support

TORONTO, June 8, 2011 /CNW/ - Today the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released highlights of student achievement on the 2011 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), which 153 635 Grade 10 students were eligible to take for the first time this past March. Of the 143 246 students who actually wrote the test, 83% were successful, thus maintaining the high rate of success seen over the past five years. There has been a one-percentage-point decrease in each of the last two years.

This is the first year that EQAO has been able to track the progress of students through three provincial tests—from Grade 3 to Grade 6 to Grade 10. This tracking provides new evidence of the importance of early and consistent support for students' literacy development.

Of this year's Grade 10 students, 71% (108 773) had been in the Ontario school system for the provincial tests in Grade 3 and Grade 6. Of those students, 104 030 wrote the OSSLT this year, 2807 had their participation deferred to a later administration and 1936 were absent on the day of the test. Of the 104 030 students who wrote the test,

  • 49 949 (48%) were successful and had also met the provincial reading standard in both Grade 3 and Grade 6.
  • 37 663 (36%) were successful even though they had struggled at some point in their elementary education, not having met the provincial reading standard in Grade 3, Grade 6 or both.
  • 11 660 (11%) were not successful and had also met the provincial reading standard in neither Grade 3 nor Grade 6.

"This year's results confirm that the vast majority of Ontario's Grade 10 students are acquiring the fundamental reading and writing skills needed to be successful in school and in life outside," said Dr. Brian Desbiens, Chair of EQAO's Board of Directors. "Our student tracking analysis is a pointed reminder that we must renew our efforts to identify and support students having difficulty as early as possible in their schooling."

"EQAO's student tracking studies provide new evidence to support teachers and parents. Students who acquire strong literacy skills early in their schooling are most likely to maintain and build on their high achievement as they progress," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer. "Additionally, this evidence demonstrates the importance of regular monitoring accompanied by personalized teaching at every stage of a student's journey through school."

This year's OSSLT results corroborate what has been seen in the recent (2009) Programme for International Assessment (PISA) results, which ranked Ontario students among the world's best in reading. Most of the students who were successful on the 2011 OSSLT achieved Level 2 or higher on PISA—considered the baseline level of proficiency comparable to the minimum literacy competency expected for a successful result on the OSSLT.

The OSSLT is a provincial standards-based test of the reading and writing skills students are expected to have acquired across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. Successful completion of the test or of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course is one of the 32 requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

On June 15, EQAO will release the OSSLT results at the school and school-board levels. Schools and boards will keep their results confidential until then. They will be able to comment on their results on June 16 and after.

The information will be posted on EQAO's Web site, www.eqao.com, as it is released to the public.

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Backgrounder

1. Highlights of the Results of the 2010-2011 OSSLT

a)     First-Time Eligible Students

  • This year, of the 153 635 students who were eligible to take the test for the first time,
    • 143 246 (93%) wrote the test
    • 7152 (5%) had their participation deferred to a later administration
    • 3237 (2%) were absent
  • Of the 143 246 first-time eligible students who wrote the test,
    • 118 961 (83%) were successful
    • 24 285 (17%) were unsuccessful

b)     Previously Eligible Students

  • This year, of the 54 243 students who had previously been eligible to take the test,
    • 29 539 (54%) wrote the test
    • 11 918 (22%) fulfilled the literacy credit by participating in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course
    • 7049 (13%) had their participation deferred to a later administration
    • 5737 (11%) were absent
  • Of the 29 539 previously eligible students who wrote the test, 49% (14 607) were successful and 51% (14 932) were unsuccessful.

2. Tracking Student Progress from Grade 3 to Grade 6 to Grade 10

  • Of the 153 635 students who were eligible to write the OSSLT in Grade 10 this year, 108 773 (71%) had been in the Ontario school system for the provincial tests in Grade 3 and Grade 6. Of the 108 773 students, 104 030 students wrote the OSSLT this year, 2807 had their participation deferred to a later administration and 1936 were absent on the day of the test.

  • Of the 104 030 students who wrote the OSSLT,
    • 49 949 (48%) were successful on the OSSLT and had also met the provincial reading standard in both Grade 3 and Grade 6. This indicates that students who meet the provincial standard early are well positioned to maintain their high achievement as they progress in their schooling.
      • What do we know about these students?
        • 46 253 (93%) were enrolled in the academic English course, 3512 (7%) were in the applied English course and 33 (1%) were in a locally developed course
        • 2094 (4%) had special education needs
        • 29 915 (56%) were girls and 22 034 (44%) were boys
        • 26 844 (55%) reported reading less than three hours a week outside school (48 707 of 49 949 students answered this question)
    • 37 663 (36%) were successful on the OSSLT even though they had struggled at some point in their elementary education, having not met the provincial reading standard in Grade 3, Grade 6 or both. This indicates that identifying struggling students early and providing support can make a difference.
      • What do we know about these students?
        • 26 364 (70%) were enrolled in the academic English course, 10 824 (29%) were in the applied English course and 326 (1%) were in a locally developed course
        • 6958 (18%) had special education needs
        • 20 516 (54%) were boys and 17 147 (46%) were girls
        • 25 007 (68%) reported reading less than three hours a week outside school (36 529 of 37 663 students answered this question)
    • 11 660 (11%) were unsuccessful on the OSSLT and had also met the provincial reading standard in neither Grade 3 nor Grade 6. These data reinforce the need to provide personalized interventions for struggling students at every stage of their schooling.
      • What do we know about these students?
        • 7844 (67%) were enrolled in the applied English course, 2002 (17%) were in the academic English course and 1655 (14%) were in a locally developed course
        • 6409 (55%) had special education needs
        • 7248 (62%) were boys and 4412 (38%) were girls
        • 9396 (83%) reported reading less than three hours a week outside school (11 277 of 11 660 students answered this question)
  • Of the 2807 students who had their participation deferred to a later administration,
    • 327 (12%) had met the reading standard in both Grade 3 and Grade 6
    • 320 (11%) had not met the reading standard in Grade 3 but had in Grade 6
    • 221 (8%) had met the reading standard in Grade 3 but not in Grade 6
    • 1939 (69%) had met the reading standard in neither Grade 3 nor Grade 6
      • What do we know about these students?
        • 1146 (41%) were enrolled in a locally developed course, 1077 (38%) were in the applied English course and 336 (12%) were in the academic English course
        • 1798 (64%) had special education needs
        • 1776 (63%) were boys and 1031 (37%) were girls
  • Of the 1936 students who were absent this year,
    • 653 (34%) had met the reading standard in both Grade 3 and Grade 6
    • 365 (19%) had not met the reading standard in Grade 3 but had in Grade 6
    • 178 (9%) had met the reading standard in Grade 3 but not in Grade 6
    • 740 (38%) had met the reading standard in neither Grade 3 nor Grade 6
      • What do we know about these students?
        • 836 (43%) were enrolled in the applied English course, 806 (42%) were in the academic English course and 210 (11%) were in a locally developed course
        • 541 (28%) had special education needs
        • 970 (50%) were boys and 966 (50%) were girls

3. About the OSSLT

The OSSLT measures whether students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9, according to the expectations defined in The Ontario Curriculum. To meet the standard, students must be able to read and understand ideas and information in a variety of written texts most of the time and communicate ideas and information in writing clearly and without distracting errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar or organization most of the time.

Successful completion of the OSSLT is one of the 32 requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Students who are unsuccessful on the test in Grade 10 can take it again the next school year or fulfill the diploma requirement by successfully completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course.

4. About EQAO

EQAO was established in 1996 based on a recommendation from Ontario's Royal Commission on Learning. The all-party commission consulted extensively with teachers, parents, students and taxpayers. It concluded that province-wide assessments would contribute to greater quality and accountability in the publicly funded school system.

EQAO plays an important role in Ontario's school system by conducting province-wide tests at key points in every student's primary, junior and secondary education and by reporting the results. The tests measure student performance in reading, writing and mathematics based on the expectations set out in The Ontario Curriculum.

Results from EQAO testing are an important indicator of student learning and measure achievement in relation to a common provincial standard. The objective and reliable information gained through these assessments adds to the current knowledge about how Ontario students are doing and has become an important tool for improvement planning at the student, school, school-board and provincial levels.


SOURCE Education Quality and Accountability Office

For further information:

and to arrange interviews:

Katia Collette
Communications Officer
416-212-7047
katia.collette@eqao.com


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