85% of Ontario's Grade 10 students pass the literacy test, including two-thirds of the students who didn't meet the provincial standard when in Grade 6



    TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ - Today the Education Quality and Accountability
Office (EQAO) released highlights of student achievement on the 2009 Ontario
Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), written by 173 145 English-language
students across the province in April. Of the Grade 10 students who wrote the
test for the first time, 85% were successful, maintaining the high rate of
success seen over the past few years.
    This year EQAO was able to track the results of the students who wrote
the junior division assessment in Grade 6 in 2005 and compare their junior
results to those from the 2009 OSSLT. As might be expected, this comparative
study confirmed that students who had acquired the literacy skills needed to
reach the provincial standard in reading in Grade 6 were best positioned for
success in high school, with 97% of those students achieving success on the
OSSLT.
    The study also showed that the continued attention and support given to
students who did not achieve the provincial standard in Grade 6 produced
positive results for many of them. Two-thirds (66%) of the students who didn't
meet the standard in reading when they were in Grade 6 were successful on
their first attempt at writing the OSSLT. The fact that one-third of students
who were below the provincial standard in Grade 6 did not pass the OSSLT on
their first try reinforces the importance of keeping tabs on achievement
throughout students' schooling in order to provide the help that's needed.
    "The ability to monitor the progress of all students at key stages in
their education is one of the greatest strengths of Ontario's assessment
program," said Brian L. Desbiens, Chair of EQAO's Board of Directors. "These
valuable insights give educators and parents more tools to help ensure every
student is receiving the attention and support needed to develop the
foundational literacy skills required for a successful future."
    "As always, provincial assessment results are the beginning, not the end,
of a conversation," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer.
"Each time we add new evidence, like this year's student tracking, to our
collective knowledge about Ontario student achievement, we create an
opportunity for renewed dialogue, partnership and commitment to the success of
our young people."
    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 10, EQAO will release a comprehensive report entitled Ontario
Student Achievement: EQAO's Provincial Report on the Results of the 2008-2009
Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, which will provide contextual data, a
summary of findings, strategies for success, observations from the field and
profiles of successful schools. On the same day, EQAO will also release OSSLT
student achievement results by school and school board. Schools and boards
will keep their results confidential until that date. They will be able to
comment on them as of June 10.
    The information will be posted on EQAO's Web site, www.eqao.com, as it is
released to the public.

    
    NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS:

    Today, EQAO also posted to its Web site the test booklets from the 2009
OSSLT, as well as 10 of the test's multiple-choice questions and their
answers, presented in a fun and engaging format.

    EQAO is providing the media with:

    -   camera-ready artwork with three questions from the test for print or
        Web publishing http://www.eqao.com/pdf_e/09/Cad_tyls_Xe_0609.pdf
    -   Web button (gif)
        http://www.eqao.com/images/buttons/Homepage/TestYourLiteracy_e.gif
    -   link (for the Web button) to the 10 multiple-choice questions for
        online publishing
        http://www.eqao.com/pdf_e/09/Cfly_tyls2pg_Xe_0609_web.pdf

    By trying some of these questions themselves, parents, guardians and the
public at large will get a better sense of the literacy expectations outlined
in The Ontario Curriculum.

    Aussi disponible en français

    Backgrounder

    Tracking Student Results
    

    Thanks to the recent introduction of a unique Ontario Education Number
(OEN) for each student, EQAO is now able to track the results of students who
wrote the junior division assessment in Grade 6 in 2005 and compare their 2005
results to those from the 2009 OSSLT.
    Tracking student progress reveals the overwhelming success of those who
met the provincial standard in Grade 6 and underscores the importance of
providing continued attention and support to those who did not.

    
               OSSLT 2009 Outcome by Grade 6 Reading Result for
                          English-Language Students

                                     ----------------------------------------
                                        No. of         OSSLT 2009 Outcome
                                                  ---------------------------
                                      Students     Successful   Unsuccessful
                                      (117,404)      (102,595)       (14,809)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Grade 6 2005        Level 4          9 885    (9 870) 100%     (15)(less
    Reading                                                           than)1%
    Result           --------------------------------------------------------
                        Level 3         69 689   (67 603)  97%     (2 086) 3%
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                        Level 2         29 829   (22 229)  75%    (7 600) 25%
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                        Level 1          7 336    (2 738)  37%    (4 598) 63%
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                          NE1(*)           665      (155)  23%      (510) 77%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (*) Students did not demonstrate enough evidence of knowledge and
        understanding to be assigned Level 1.

    Cohort tracking provides valuable insights about student learning.

    -   Of the students who had reached or surpassed the provincial standard
        in reading in Grade 6 in 2005, 97% were successful on the OSSLT (97%
        and 100% of those who had achieved Levels 3 and 4 in Grade 6
        respectively). This means students who had acquired the literacy
        skills to reach the provincial standard by the end of Grade 6 were
        well positioned for success as they progressed through high school.

    -   Of the students who did not meet the provincial standard in reading
        in Grade 6 in 2005, 66% were successful on the OSSLT (37% and 75% of
        those who had achieved Levels 1 and 2 in Grade 6 respectively). This
        demonstrates that continued attention and intervention to support
        students below the provincial standard in Grade 6 has produced
        positive results for many of them.

    -   Of the students who did not meet the provincial standard in reading
        in Grade 6 in 2005, 34% were not successful on the OSSLT (63% and 25%
        of those who had achieved Levels 1 and 2 in Grade 6 respectively).
        This points to the importance of keeping tabs on achievement
        throughout students' schooling in order to provide the help that's
        needed.

    Parent and Guardian Resources to Help Students Succeed

    Parents and guardians can play an important role in helping students
acquire literacy skills. Ontario's Ministry of Education resources include

    -   "Read Every Day, Read Together, Make Reading Fun"
        http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/read.pdf;
    -   Helping Your Child with Reading and Writing: A Guide for Parents
       http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/earlyreading/index.html
        and
    -   Me Read? No Way! A Practical Guide to Improving Boys' Literacy
        Skills.
        http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/meread/meread.pdf

    Test Your Literacy Skills!
    

    EQAO has also posted to its Web site the test booklets from the 2009
OSSLT as well as 10 of the test's multiple-choice questions and their answers,
in a fun and engaging format.
    By trying some of these questions, parents, guardians and the public at
large will get a better sense of the literacy expectations outlined in The
Ontario Curriculum.
    To view these questions, the test booklets and sample student responses
at different skill levels, go to www.eqao.com.

    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.

    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.

    Ontario Secondary School Diploma Requirement

    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 the test again the next school year or fulfill the
diploma requirement by enrolling in and successfully completing the Ontario
Secondary School Literacy Course.

    
    Highlights of the Results of the 2008-2009 OSSLT

    -   142 394 students wrote the test for the first time; 85% of them were
        successful.
    -   30 751 previously eligible students took the test; 54% of them were
        successful.
    -   Both first-time eligible students and students who retook the OSSLT
        wrote it on April 2.
    -   Of the 152 830 students who were eligible to take the test for the
        first time, 93% wrote the test; the rest were absent or deferred.
        (Deferrals are granted by school principals to students who are not
        ready to write the literacy test.) The percentage of students
        participating in the test has remained stable over the past five
        years.
    -   When all first-time eligible students (i.e., those participating,
        absent and deferred) are considered, the success rate for the cohort
        is 79%.
    





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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