Case Study: Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test



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Case Study: Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test


While observation can yield many valuable insights, data provide accurate and verifiable ‘snapshot’ of school performance and serve as a powerful foundation for effective improvement planning. Data enable more precise and probing questions to be explored. They can identify school strengths and weaknesses and pinpoint the sources of both. Likewise, they can provide a yardstick against which school improvement strategies can be measured for effectiveness over time. Confidence in the understanding of data gathering and interpretation is a critical underpinning of school improvement planning and an important foundation of effective instructional leadership.”
Working Together for Student Success: A School Improvement Guide, EQAO, 2005


Ottawa Valley Secondary School (OVSS)
This case study uses EQAO achievement and questionnaire data to create a fictional school. The results presented here are intended to illustrate how principals can work with their staffs to analyze and interpret EQAO data and link achievement results with planning and instructional practices. The case study can be used for a number of purposes:


  1. To illustrate the types of data available through EQAO assessments;

  2. To introduce a process for analyzing the school’s EQAO results using a case study approach;

  3. To demonstrate how to analyze and interpret different types of data;
  4. To identify additional sources of data to be examined in addition to EQAO data.

The case study is divided into three sections: Demographic Data, Student Achievement Data, and Item Information Reports. Each section includes a snapshot of EQAO data and a set of sample questions for analysis is included on the last page. The case study can be used as package; individual sections can also be used as separate exercises.


It is important to note that schools have and should utilize a wide range of data when interpreting their EQAO results. This case study is limited to the range of data available through EQAO assessments. The EQAO does not conduct student and teacher questionnaires for the OSSLT as it does for the Assessments in Grades 3, 6, and 9. Other sources of relevant data are listed in the analyzing provincial Assessment Results, Multiple Sources of Data and School Improvement Planning links on this web site.
Guidelines for Principals


  • Use a wide range of data from different sources, in addition to EQAO

  • Explore contextual and perceptual factors as well as achievement data

  • Determine significant trends, patterns and relationships

  • Identify key issues to be further explored and addressed


Note: This case study is intended for internal use by schools and boards to support analysis of school EQAO results. It does not represent a complete or accurate picture of an actual school.

Demographic Data

Ottawa Valley Secondary School


Student Achievement Data
Ottawa Valley Secondary School
OSSLT Results: 2006








OSSLT Results Over Time


Item Information Reports
Ottawa Valley Secondary School








Note: Samples only are included in this case study to illustrate the content and format of the Item Information Reports. Schools should analyze all reading and writing skills in the Item Information Report to get a more complete snapshot of achievement across targeted skills.
Guiding Questions for Analysis







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