Not Just Reading and Writing: Exploring Literacy in Ontario's Secondary Schools
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In 2002, Ontario became the first province in Canada to require the successful completion of a high-stakes large-scale literacy test as a requirement for graduation: the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). Students must now successfully complete the OSSLT or a complementary course, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC), prior to graduation from secondary school. Not surprisingly, students who are at-risk for failure on either the OSSLT or the OSSLC are a major concern to school boards. As a result, improving student achievement in literacy has become a common focus within school boards throughout the province. Two research questions guided my research exploring these ongoing efforts: 1) What literacy initiatives are in place to support students who struggle with literacy? and 2) What OSSLT preparation practices are in place to support students who struggle with literacy? The current study discusses the literacy initiatives and OSSLT preparation practices that are in place within 31 Ontario school boards. The Annual Director’s Reports of these school boards were analyzed to provide an overview of these literacy initiatives and preparation practices.