Rainbow Board, MSS scores remain stable in EQAO results

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

SUDBURY—Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) and Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) results in this year’s Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), show a slight decrease in comparison to provincial results, but have remained stable over the past few years, says the superintendent of schools for the RDSB.

“The results are kind of consistent with the province—there was a slight decline in the results provincially and the board school results mirrored the provincial results,” said superintendent Bruce Bourget on Monday.

The results of this year’s OSSLT, which is administered every year to students in Grade 10 by the Educational Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), show that the vast majority of students have developed the literacy skills required to participate effectively and productively in life. Of the Grade 10 students who wrote the test, 82 percent were successful this year. Over the past five years, the provincial success rate has remained relatively stable, ranging between 82 percent and 85 percent.

“The board results show 76 percent being successful this year, compared to 79 percent last year,” said Mr. Bourget. “Having said that it still shows strong results.”

For MSS, the 74 percent of Grade 10 students were successful in the tests this year, compared to 79 percent last year. “School levels fluctuate on a yearly basis, the difference of one to two students results can make a huge difference,” said Mr. Bourget. “The MSS school results have remained consistent over time and are consistent with board results and I would like to applaud school staff for their work and efforts to ensure students are ready to take the tests.”

A closer look at the provincial results points to a notable 70/30 split in student achievement. The large majority of Ontario’s Grade 10 students who wrote the test (71 percent, or 103,941) were enrolled in the academic English course in 2012, and more than nine out of 10 of those who wrote the test (93 percent, or 95,250 students) were successful.

The results are different for the remaining 30 percent—some 43,000 students. For example, although 22 percent (33,142) of all Grade 10 students who wrote the test are enrolled in the applied English course, students from this course represent more than half (58 percent) of all those who were unsuccessful on the OSSLT this year. Since this pattern has been observed for a number of years, the findings suggest the effectiveness of the applied English course should be reviewed, an EQAO release notes.

“Analyzing the results further still, EQAO examined this year’s Grade 10 students’ results on the reading and writing components of the provincial assessments they wrote four years ago when in Grade 6,” the EQAO release states. “This analysis revealed that of the Grade 10 students who were not successful on the OSSLT this year, 78 percent had also not met the provincial reading standard in 2008. There continues to be a significant group of students progressing through the grades without receiving the literacy support they need to be successful.”

“The publicly funded school system is doing a good job developing the literacy skills of the vast majority of its students—a fact that is consistently proven in provincial, national and international assessments,” said Dr. Brian Desbiens, chair of EQAO’s board of directors. “However, the courses and supports designed specifically for students who need different kinds of programming to develop their literacy skills are not producing the outcomes EQAO’s board of directors would expect to see.”

“The evidence is clear that the earlier we identify and support students in need, the better chance we have at altering their path to help them find success,” added Marguerite Jackson, EQAO’s chief executive officer. “Ontario’s Grade 3 and Grade 6 students just finished writing the provincial test last week, and we encourage their parents and guardians to pay close attention to the results they’ll receive in September, and work in partnership with teachers to support their child’s learning.”