News Releases
HCDSB News Release
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Board Students Continue to Shine on Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test
Stack of books

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 few years. The test was conducted in April, 2010 by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

Overall, the results indicate that a significantly 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 2009), 92% did so successfully.

“The Halton Catholic District School Board is proud of the success of all of our students and each of our secondary schools. Our students continue to demonstrate high levels of achievement in this provincial assessment,” says Michael Pautler, Director of Education, Halton Catholic District School Board. “It is through the collaborative work of our elementary and secondary principals, teachers, support staff, students, parents, senior administration and Board personnel, that our Board is able to achieve results above the provincial average on the OSSLT.”

“Our Board is pleased with the positive trend in our results, indicating consistently high performance on the part of our students on provincial assessments. Students, teachers, school leaders and parents are to be congratulated for their hard work and exemplary accomplishment,” says Jacqueline Herman, Superintendent of Education, School Effectiveness. “Maintaining such high levels of student achievement is the direct result of the Board’s attention to cross-curricular literacy instruction, the provision of appropriate resources and job-embedded learning opportunities, combined with the commitment of our dedicated staff who recognize that each child is unique in his/her learning. School teams work diligently and in close partnership with our parent communities to help support our students in their individual paths to success.”


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 Education Quality and Accountability Office (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 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (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 (i.e. Reading: reading for main ideas and supporting details; Writing: developing the main idea, organizing information and ideas and topic development);
  • Teacher moderation and sharing of effective instructional practices;
  • Creation of a literacy profile for all at-risk students;
  • 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;
  • Increased student involvement in the assessment process; i.e. enhanced understanding of success criteria, use of exemplars, providing multiple opportunities to identify the qualities of Level 4 work and engaging in the self-assessment process;
  • Differentiated-instruction, focusing on higher level thinking skills for all students;
  • Curriculum Consultant facilitated a parent information session at the Halton Catholic Parent Conference 2009. The session outlined the reading and writing expectations of the OSSLT, strategies parents could use to support their child to prepare for the OSSLT, and how to access additional information about the OSSLT.

The Halton Catholic District School Board’s commitment to continuous growth and improvement is reflected in its dynamic planning for the future, which includes building respectful, equitable, responsive, inclusive and engaging environments that are conducive to student learning and are reflective of Gospel Values, Catholic teachings and the Catholic Graduate Expectations. The Board is confident that its strong commitment to “Reach Every Student” will continue to be reflected in the improved performance of all of its students. Board and individual secondary school results are outlined in the chart below.


The Halton Catholic District School Board is a model learning community, widely recognized as distinctively Catholic. A provincial leader in student achievement, HCDSB provides exceptional educational experiences and services to over 34,000 students of all ages. God’s call to love and to serve is nurtured across our 45 elementary schools, 9 secondary schools, and 3 continuing education facilities, serving the communities of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton, and Oakville. With a focus on Achieving, Believing, and Belonging, we provide our students and staff with the tools for realizing their fullest potential, while also instilling a life-long commitment to the community.

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Media Contact:
Jacqueline Herman
Superintendent of Education, School Effectiveness
Halton Catholic District School Board
905-632-6314, ext. 120
Alternate Media Contact:
Lisa Stocco
Communications Services
Halton Catholic District School Board
905-632-6314, ext. 126

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