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Slight improvement in Grade 10 literacy levels

Performance on the Grade 10 literacy test improved by the slimmest margin this year, with 85 per cent of students writing the test for the first time passing, compared with 84 per cent the past three years.

The provincial Education, Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released highlights of the Grade 10 literacy test Wednesday.

This is the first year EQAO was able to compare the results of students on the junior division assessment in Grade 6 to their performance on the literacy test.

Of the students who met the provincial standard on the reading portion of the Grade 6 assessment, 97 per cent passed the literacy test. Of the students who didn’t meet the standard on the Grade 6 reading test, 66 per cent passed the OSSLT.

Officials at EQAO attributed the two-thirds passing rate to the increased attention and support given to students who were unsuccessful in Grade 6.

Carolyn Knapp, head of the English department at EDSS, said along with building literacy test skills into every course, the school has developed a remedial program for students who may be struggling.

Teachers are asked to identify students who may have trouble, and along with students who failed the test the previous year, they’re invited to take part in the program.

Knapp said the students work with exemplars or models to take apart questions and then reconstruct them. It’s a program that has been successful for the school.

Knapp couldn’t say how much time students spend preparing for the test, because the literacy skills needed are built into science and geography and math courses, as well as English.

“It’s not something you prepare right before the test. It’s something every teacher is doing all the time,” she said.

When the results were broken down by gender, 88 per cent of females passed, compared to 82 per cent of males. Test results were also broken down by level of study; 96 per cent of students taking academic English passed, versus 62 per cent of students in applied English courses.

EQAO has been administering the test since 2004. This year, 173,145 students across the province wrote the test on April 2.
On June 10, EQAO will release the complete results broken down by school and school board.

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