84% of Ontario's Grade 10 students pass literacy test: Tracking student
progress from Grade 6 to 10 reveals importance of mastering literacy skills

TORONTO, June 9 /CNW/ - Today the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released highlights of student achievement on the 2010 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), written in April by over 170 000 English-language students across the province. Of the students who wrote the test for the first time, 84% were successful, maintaining the high rate of success seen over the past few years - 85% in 2009, and 84% in 2008, 2007 and 2006.

"It's good that such a large number of students are passing the literacy test," said Dr. Brian Desbiens, Chair of EQAO's Board of Directors. "Tracking the progress of students as they moved from Grade 6 to Grade 10 revealed a story of achievement for some and a tale of struggles for others, which should serve as a signal of what's possible and of the need for the close tracking of struggling students."

About 88% of the Grade 10 students who wrote the literacy test this year had also written the provincial Grade 6 reading and writing test in 2006. EQAO's tracking study showed that, of the 40 835 students who had not met the standard in reading in Grade 6, 62% (25 424) were successful on the OSSLT on their first try this year. This demonstrates that attention and support, at home and at school, make a difference in achievement.

However, if we look specifically at the students who did not pass the literacy test this year and who had written the provincial test in Grade 6 (18 439), we see that 84% (15 411) had also not met the provincial standard in reading four years ago.

Put another way, if we were to look at the 16% who were unsuccessful on the OSSLT as though they were 16 students, then 13 of them would also have written the provincial test in Grade 6, and 11 of them would not have met the provincial standard in reading then.

"A student's results on EQAO's elementary-school tests are a significant piece of information for parents and educators," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer. "These results reinforce the need for parents and educators to track and support a student's literacy development throughout his or her schooling, particularly when he or she has not achieved the provincial standard on the early assessments."

Over 7000 of this year's Grade 10 students were deemed not ready to write the OSSLT and therefore had their participation deferred to a future test administration. Of this group, almost 4000 had been in the school system in 2006 and had written the Grade 6 provincial test. Nearly 900 of the latter students had met the standard in reading.

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 16, 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 2009-2010 OSSLT

    a)  First-Time Eligible Students
    -   This year, of the 153 490 students who were eligible to take the test
        for the first time, 93% did so.
    -   Of the 142 955 first-time eligible students who wrote the test, 84%
        (120 218) were successful and 16% (22 737) were unsuccessful.
    b)  Previously Eligible Students
    -   This year, of the 51 669 students who had previously been eligible to
        take the test, 56% did so.
    -   Of the 28 694 previously eligible students who wrote the test, 51%
        (14 584) were successful and 49% (14 110) were unsuccessful.

    2.  Attention and Support Produce Positive Results

    About two-thirds of students who had not met the standard in Grade 6
    were successful on the OSSLT.

    a)  Reading
    Of the 40 835 students who wrote the OSSLT and who had not met the
    standard in reading in Grade 6, 62% (25 424) were successful.

    b)  Writing
    Of the 44 173 students who wrote the OSSLT and who had not met the
    standard in writing in Grade 6, 67% (29 595) were successful.

    3.  Grade 6 Results of Students Unsuccessful on the 2010 OSSLT

    a)  Reading
    Of the 18 439 students who were unsuccessful on the 2010 OSSLT and who
    had written the junior-division assessment in 2006, 84% (15 411) had not
    met the provincial standard in reading (Level 3) when they were in
    Grade 6.

    b)  Writing
    Of the 18 439 students who were unsuccessful on the 2010 OSSLT and who
    had written the junior-division assessment in 2006, 79% (14 578) had not
    met the provincial standard in writing (Level 3) when they were in
    Grade 6.

    4.  Painting a Portrait of the Unsuccessful Students

    If we were to look at the 16% of Grade 10 students who were unsuccessful
    on the 2010 OSSLT as though they were 16 students, then

    -   Gender:
        -  10 students would be male
        -  6 students would be female

    -   English Course:
        -  9 students would currently be enrolled in an applied course
        -  4 students would currently be enrolled in an academic course
        -  2 students would currently be enrolled in a locally developed
           course

    -   Special Education Needs:
        -  7 students would have been designated as having special education
           needs

    -   English Language Learners:
        -  1 student would have been designated as an English language
           learner

    Note: Some of the numbers above do not add up to 16, due to rounding.

    According to this portrait, of the 16 students who were unsuccessful on
    the OSSLT, 13 students would have been eligible to take the provincial
    junior-division assessment in Grade 6 in 2006, and their results would
    have been as follows:

    -   Reading
    Of the 13 students, 11 students would not have met the provincial
    standard for reading on the junior-division assessment in 2006, when they
    were in Grade 6.

    -   2 students would have met the provincial standard (Level 3)
    -   6 students would have achieved Level 2
    -   3 students would have achieved Level 1
    -   1 student would have received a score below Level 1 or would not have
        completed enough of the test to receive a score
    -   1 student would have been exempted

    -   Writing
    Of the 13 students, 10 students would not have met the provincial
    standard for writing on the junior-division assessment in 2006, when they
    were in Grade 6.
    -   3 students would have met the provincial standard (Level 3)
    -   8 students would have achieved Level 2
    -   1 student would have achieved Level 1
    -   1 student would have been exempted

    5.  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 to earn
    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 enrolling in and successfully completing the
    Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course.

    6.  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 (EQAO)

For further information: For further information: and to arrange interviews: Katia Collette, Communications Officer, (416) 212-7047, katia.collette@eqao.com

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