I do not think that the Grade 10 Test of Reading and Writing Skills (OSSLT) is a good idea because it is one mandatory test, which determines whether or not you graduate. One test should not make all the hours of schooling irrelevant. A student who completes the 40 hours of community service and the 30 credits required to graduate, should be able to get their diploma. It is already mandatory to have four credits in English, one for every year of High School. This test feels like another English credit. Like the English classes that you already take in school, it tests on the same things that the teachers test you on in class. If students can’t pass the test then it discourages them into thinking that they are not good enough. This is the reason that most students end up dropping out of High School.
I think that the test could be counted like the EQAO test that you take in grade 9. That test determines where students are struggling and achieving the Provincial Standards. The OSSLT should be used by educators to assess a student’s Literacy skill and to determine their needs. The test could also be an option for those wanting to major in English, like the LSAT that you take to get into Law school.
I also think that the OSSLT is not a good idea because everybody learns and thinks differently. What is easy for some people is more difficult for others. This test does not take into consideration those students on an IEP or those who have learning disabilities. If a student learns on an IEP all throughout High School, it is unfair to not test them using that IEP. It is unfair to think that one person can do the same task in the same way as another person. Each person has a different learning style; they can be visual, auditory and/or kinesthetic learners. This test does not consider the other learner styles.
So in conclusion, the Grade 10 OSSLT should not hold a student back from graduating High School. If a student shows throughout High School that they have a working knowledge of reading and writing then they should not get held back by one simple test. Instead of holding back our students, it could be used as a tool to help them reach their full potential, not creating more drop outs. Lastly, for those students who have learning disabilities, this test does not accommodate their learning needs. When school should be setting them up for success, this test sets them up for failure.
Courtney from Study Moose
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