Reading guide



1.What was the purpose of the reported study? What research questionsguided the study?

InOntario, one of the basic requirements for graduation is the “OntarioSecondary school Literacy Test (OSSLT). It has been established thatEnglish as Second Language and English Literacy Development learners(ESL and ELD) have lower success rates and more deferral rates in thetest compared to other learners. There is an increased need todetermine reasons why these learners experience challenges in OSSLT.The aim of the study is to establish whether there is systematicdifference between these learners and other learners which can beused to explain the phenomenon. This will assist teachers inpreparing these learners for the tests.

2. What data were collected for the study? How were the data analyzed?

Thestudy was conducted in 2002 and 2003 and over fifteen thousandlearners were involved. The reading component analyses the studentscore in “item formats, test types skills and strategies”. Dataon writing component involved scores on “summary, opinion, newsreport and information”. The data was analyzed using descriptivestatistics to demonstrate patterns in the data and relationshipsbetween groups of subjects.

3.What were the main results of the study?

Inboth years, ESL and ELD student recorded a significantly low score(about 20 percent lower) when compared to other learners.

Resultson Reading:

Inthe performance on reading, the score was not related to “itemformats, test types skills and strategies”. The difference inperformance was found to be directly associated with being ESL/ELD ornon ESL/ELD.

Resultson Writing:

ESL/ELDlearners were found to have lower performance in narrative reading,reading skills (indirect understanding) and reading strategies.

4. Which result(s) did you find most interesting or surprising? Why?What do you see as the implications of the study for testing literacyskills for second language students?

ESL/ELDlearners have difficulties in OSSLT with concepts related to cultureand context being some of the most difficult tasks. This issurprising because majority of these learners come from diversecultures. However the finding of the study can be used to developbetter strategies of improving literacy skills in ESL/ELD with an aimof enhancing their scores in the test.


Cheng,L., Klinger, D., &amp Zheng, Y. (2007). “The challenges of theOntario Secondary School Literacy Test for second language students”.LanguageTesting,24(2), 185-208