The Halton Catholic District School Board’s students, who participated in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), continued with the Board’s trend of achieving positive results, maintaining the high rate of success seen over the past several years. The test was conducted in April, 2012 by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).
Overall, the results indicate that a greater percentage of the Board’s secondary school students, compared to the province, successfully completed the OSSLT. In the group of students who wrote the test for the first time (i.e. students who entered Grade 10 in 2011), 90% did so successfully.
“Our Board is very pleased with these results, and we are proud of the success of each our students, who continue to demonstrate high levels of achievement in the OSSLT,” says Michael W. Pautler, Director of Education, Halton Catholic District School Board. “We commend our students, teachers, school leaders, support staff, and parents on their collective, exemplary accomplishment.”
“We recognize that continuing to achieve high levels of success on this provincial assessment is reflective of our system’s ability to maintain focused attention on the use of effective evidence-based assessment and instructional practices,” says Jacqueline Herman, Superintendent of Education, Curriculum Services and School Effectiveness Framework Lead. “These results reinforce the critical role that effective schools play in influencing student achievement. “
The OSSLT is based on the expectations for reading and writing across all core subjects in The Ontario Curriculum up to the end of Grade 9. Successful completion of the OSSLT is one of the requirements leading to an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The test is marked on a successful/unsuccessful basis according to criteria established by the EQAO. Students must successfully complete both the reading and writing components of the test to be considered successful. Students who are deemed unsuccessful in their attempt (i.e., wrote the OSSLT, but did not pass or did not fully participate in the OSSLT due to absence or deferral) are eligible to retake the test during future administrations and/or participate in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).
The EQAO Individual Student Reports are used by school staff to identify students who may want to participate in the remedial assistance program and/or register in the OSSLC.
The Halton Catholic District School Board’s Improvement Plan for Student Achievement helps all schools to implement evidence-based strategies in the areas of teaching and learning, data analysis and interventions to ensure achievement for all learners and increase student, parent and community engagement.
This past year, the following strategies have been implemented to provide students, parents/guardians and teachers with skills for improving literacy development:
Use of the literacy benchmark assessment resource (Ontario Comprehension Assessment), as well as past Ontario Secondary School Literacy Tests, to assess students’ reading and writing skills
Assessment information is used to identify areas of difficulty in order to determine focus for teacher professional learning
Professional learning focused on embedding specific reading and writing strategies in all curriculum areas in the applied level
Teacher moderation and sharing of effective instructional practices
Individual student follow-up to identify areas of need and to set learning goals
Students who were at-risk of not being successful on the OSSLT based on the assessment data were enrolled in the after-school literacy program
Differentiated-instruction, focusing on higher level thinking skills for all students
Using the Professional Learning Cycle, teachers of various subject areas are collaboratively planning and teaching lessons focusing on explicit literacy instruction based on students' needs
Board and individual secondary school results are outlined in the chart above.