D-P Catholic students outpace Upper Grand’s in literacy tests

September 23, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Results released Wednesday from the 2014-2015 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) indicate that Grade 10 students at Dufferin-Peel Catholic secondary schools outperformed students in Upper Grand District School Board schools.

The D-P Catholic students who took the tests exceeded the provincial success rates averaging 82% – down from 83% last year – by between three and five percentage points. The percentage of Dufferin-Peel students passing the OSSLT on their first attempt also continued to exceed provincial performance in terms of literacy skills.

“Dufferin-Peel Catholic schools have a long established record of academic success, and our EQAO results are but one indicator of that success.” said John Kostoff, Director of Education.

“Moving forward, we remain strongly committed to improving student learning, achievement and well-being among all learners. It is the good work, support and commitment on the part of many professional educators, support staff, trustees and stakeholders in our system that makes Dufferin-Peel a system that works.”

“We are proud of our record of academic excellence, including the historical upward trend of our EQAO results,” said Mario Pascucci, Chair of the Board. “Our EQAO success is one of many indicators that our students are achieving. The fact of the matter is that Dufferin-Peel is a system that delivers on its promise.”

Meanwhile, secondary students in Upper Grand high schools who were eligible to write the literacy test this year achieved an average 80% success rate, two percentage points below the provincial average. For the past five years Upper Grand has been either the same as, or within one or two percentage points of the provincial average.

“While the overall results are down a little, I am happy to see improvement over last year for students in Applied and Locally Developed Compulsory Credit courses,” said Mark Bailey, Chair of the Board. “Several schools targeted achievement in this area through special projects and the use of technology to support student success in literacy.”

The OSSLT assesses the reading and writing skills students are expected to learn across all subjects by the end of grade 9. All students, whether in Academic or Applied programs, take the same test. Successful completion of the OSSLT, and/or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC), is one of the 32 requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

“Students in the Academic program continue to do well,” Mr. Bailey said, noting that at 95%, this exceeded the provincial average. “However, students in Applied, ESL/ELD, and LDCC courses, as well as students with special needs will always require targeted support and early intervention.”

The success rate for students in the Applied program had been trending downward for the last five years. This year, it went up from 53% to 55%. The provincial average remains at 50%.

Of the 2,512 students eligible to write the test for the first time (FTE), 47% were female and 53% were male. Girls outperformed boys with an 84% success rate, compared to 77% for the boys. The gender discrepancy is slightly less pronounced in Upper Grand as compared to the province, where 86% of female students were successful versus 78% for males.

Students with special needs (FTE, excluding the gifted) achieved a 48% rate of success, and 58% of ESL/ELD students were successful.

Release of the results of the 2014-15 OSSLT provides information used by the boards and their schools to identify best instructional practices. The data is used by school administrators and teachers to develop school improvement plans with the goal of higher achievement. Strategies that proved most effective in helping struggling students will be noted and shared by curriculum support staff.

Dufferin’s three secondary schools all posted results below the Upper Grand average. Orangeville District Secondary School students came closest, at 79 per cent compared with 81 per cent last year, while Westside students slipped further, to 76 per cent from 82% in 2013-14. But the poorest result again this time was at Centre Dufferin District High School in Shelburne, with 74% compared with a record-low 72% in 2013-14 and a high of 80 per cent in 2011-12.

In contrast, Dufferin-Peel students who were previously unsuccessful on the OSSLT demonstrated much higher success rates than did the province as a whole. Whether attempting the OSSLT for the first-time or tackling it in subsequent years, Dufferin-Peel students have exceeded the provincial average on the OSSLT for the last five consecutive years.

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