Good and bad news in Grade 10 test results

“One of our key goals is to close the achievement gaps for all of our students so that every student can reach his or her full potential.”

The results for Grade 10 testing are out, and Simcoe county boards of education numbers are similar to provincial results, with averages for the county’s Catholic board slightly higher than those for the public board.
Grade 10 students across the province wrote the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test in the spring. At the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, 82 percent of students passed, while 80 percent successful completed the test at the Simcoe County District School Board.
Across the province, 83 percent of students passed the test. In March, 3,832 public board students wrote the test, while 1,858 Catholic board students wrote it in April. Results for both boards were consistent with rates from previous years. Educators expressed satisfaction with the results.
“Overall, in looking at our five-year trend, we are encouraged to see so many of our students successfully demonstrating their literacy skills and fulfilling a graduation requirement,” said Kathi Wallace, director of education at the public board.
The results, said Brian Beal, Catholic board director of education, reflect a commitment by students to achieve academic requirements for graduation. Successfully completing the test is one of 32 requirements for graduating with a high-school diploma. Students who fail the test can take it again the following year or by successfully completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course.
The test is a key tool in determining whether a student has acquired a literacy level consistent with Ontario Curriculum standards, by the end of Grade 9.
While success rates of 80 percent and more are consistent with provincial results, it still leaves as many as 20 percent of students not passing the test and in danger of not graduating. Educators from both boards say measures are in place to address the gap.
“One of our key goals is to close the achievement gaps for all of our students so that every student can reach his or her full potential,” said Kathy Bailey, superintendent of education at the public board. “Through ongoing assessment, teachers are gaining valuable insights about students’ thinking and learning needs, and are individualizing instruction accordingly.”

Test results at the Catholic board continue a 10-year improvement rate, but Beal acknowledged room for growth.
“As always, we will use these results to highlight areas for improvement. Our students are doing extremely well, but we also know that these tests provide opportunities for learning and growth for both students and staff. We will continue to implement new learning strategies and provide valuable professional development opportunities that focus on literacy in the classroom.”

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