Secondary EQAO results show work to be done

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

At the April meeting of the Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) Trustees were given a presentation about results from last year’s grade Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing and Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).

The presentation on the results was given by Shannon Westover, Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching Coordinator and De-Streaming Coordinator Tracy Rob.

At the March trustees meeting the board was given a presentation on the lower levels of EQAO testing. As with the lower levels, last year was the first year to introduce a new format of testing by going digital.

As was stated during the report about the younger grade EQAO testing, the grade 9 math EQAO is being seen as new baselines because of curriculum changes as well as changes to the testing format.

One important note was that the testing was varied on a per student basis depending on the performance in the first module, Westover said.

“It’s important to note that the grade 9 assessment of mathematics uses a multistage computer adaptive testing model that adapts to the individual student’s performance as the student progresses through each of the two sessions,” Westover said. “So what that means is each student begins session a by completing a set of questions with a medium overall level of difficulty contained in module one based on the performance. Based on those first set of questions in this first module, students were then presented with a new module in stage two, with an overall level of difficulty of low to medium, which would be module two, or medium high. Module Three. The same process repeats the next day for session B. All of the questions on the mathematics assessment are scored automatically.”

When it came to results, the majority of students who took the test in RRDSB did not perform up to the provincial standard.

The district saw 46.8 per cent of students score at level two which is noted as “Student performance at this level approaches the provincial standard, corresponding to a C− to C+”

The district also saw 37.6 per cent of students score at level three which is noted as “Student performance at this level meets the provincial standard, corresponding to a B− to B+”

The district saw 4 per cent of students score at level four which is “Student performance at this level surpasses the provincial standard, corresponding to an A− to A+”

Provincial averages were as follows: Level one 10.2 per cent, Level two 37.5 per cent, Level three 46.1 per cent and Level four 6.2 per cent.

These scores mean that RRDSB ranked 43 of 57 school boards in per centage of students meeting provincial standards.

The report concludes that the data from the 2021-22 testing are a new baseline because of the new testing format and de-streamed math curriculum. They pointed out that it will be 2023-2024 before they see the full results of students who have been through the new intermediate curriculum with a de-streamed grade nine program.

While EQAO scores are an evaluation of a student’s learning to certain points, a passing score on the OSSLT is a requirement to receive a diploma from secondary school in Ontario and is usually taken in grade 10. Due to past job action certain students were unable to take it in grade 10 in the RRDSB and had to take the test later than they would have under normal circumstances, and the pandemic put a pause on testing.

Last year the RRDSB saw 390 students take the test for the first time (183 grade 10s and 207 grade 11s and 12s) according to the report.

The report separates results between two different English language streams. In the Academic English stream, RRDSB had 85.5 per cent of students pass, compared to a provincial average of 90.5 per cent. In the Applied English stream, RRDSB saw 51.8 per cent of students pass the test against a provincial average of 50.1 per cent. This means a total of 71.5 per cent of RRDSB students passed compared to a provincial average of 83.6 per cent.

For Students taking the test the first time RRDSB ranked 55 out of the 58 boards in Ontario, and for previously eligible testers ranked 52 out of 58.

Westover added that those who do not pass the OSSLT on their first attempt will receive help to succeed in the future.

“It’s important to recognize that students who are not successful on the OSSLT in grade 10 receive individualized planning to ensure that they meet the literacy requirements in time for graduation,” she said. “Determining specific areas needed, providing remediation and offering strategic scheduling of courses will all aid in the decision to determine the best strategy to meet the literacy requirements. So whether it is to retake the test again, or if it’s to enroll on the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course.”