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Teachers Perceptions of the OSSLT with Accommodations. Weighed down by it all?. Purpose of Study. To determine the perceptions of grade 9 and 10 English teachers of the appropriateness of the OSSLT to measure the learning outcomes of: Regular education students Special needs students.

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Purpose of study
Purpose of Study

To determine the perceptions of grade 9 and 10 English teachers of the appropriateness of the OSSLT to measure the learning outcomes of:

  • Regular education students

  • Special needs students

Purpose of study1
Purpose of Study

To determine the perceptions of grade 9 and 10 English teachers of the efficacy of testing accommodations for special needs students who write the OSSLT

Purpose of study2
Purpose of Study

  • To determine the perceptions of grade 9 and 10 English teachers of the comparability of OSSLT scores achieved by special needs students who write the OSSLT with accommodations and the same scores achieved by regular education students without accommodations

Purpose of study3
Purpose of Study

  • To determine the relationship between teachers’ perceptions about the appropriateness of the OSSLT as a measure of learning outcomes and the number of years of teaching experience


  • 98 Northeastern Ontario grade 9 and 10 teachers of English who responded to the mailed questionnaire Response rate 39%

  • Rural

  • Urban

  • Inclusive

  • Segregated


  • 5-point Likert scale

  • Disagree (1)

  • Unsure (3)

  • Agree (5)

  • Open-ended question

  • Invitation to participate in interviews

Findings regular ed students
Findings: Regular Ed Students

  • OSSLT not fair or appropriate measure of learning outcomes for regular education students

  • “The test is being failed by our brightest, most capable students, just for simply failing to follow instructions”

  • “Learning is an on-going process. It should be accumulated growth”

Findings special ed students
Findings: Special Ed Students

  • The OSSLT is not a fair or appropriate measure for special education students

  • “This high stakes test will be too difficult for most special needs students- there will be many unable to graduate”

  • “This is not a fair test. There is no value to provincial testing. There is an unfair emphasis on the OSSD resting on the successful writing of this test”

Findings comparability of scores
Findings: Comparability of Scores

  • Most teachers did not think that testing accommodations for special needs students made the test results comparable to those of regular education students

  • “Kids with learning disabilities should never have their test scores compared with other normative scores. Comparing these test scores means


Findings comparability of scores1
Findings: Comparability of Scores

  • “The OSSLT is geared for academic students while we teach many different kinds of students… accommodations to the test do not put students on the same playing field”

  • “The Ministry has not asked for input from the teachers on this topic and I think they should”

Findings consistency
Findings: Consistency

  • Most teachers indicated that students are not able to consistently use test accommodations to the OSSLT

  • “Many students do not perform well on these standards tests but may be capable any other time”

  • “The OSSLT’s accommodations are not consistent with all support given in other testing situations”

Findings consistency1
Findings: Consistency

  • “The test results are only as good as the day it is given on”

  • The teachers did think that familiarity with a testing accommodation has an influence on the student’s ability to use an accommodation appropriately

Findings sensory impairments
Findings: Sensory Impairments

  • Most teachers agreed that testing accommodations for sensory impairments did not change the nature of what is being assessed or did not contaminate the validity of the scores

Findings sensory impairments1
Findings: Sensory Impairments

  • “Sensory impairments, fine motor skills you can compensate for”

  • “These types of impairments are easy to visualize and understand. They’re really obvious for people. Kind of like the idea that people with a broken leg get a lot more understanding than an individual with depression”

Findings alternate responses
Findings: Alternate Responses

  • Most teachers thought these accommodations do not affect the validity of the OSSLT

  • “I think you have to understand what the issue is- what’s hindering the student’s learning. The accommodations have to be appropriate to the test. The accommodation has to be really specific to the needs of the child, keeping that disorder in


Findings alternate test format
Findings: Alternate Test Format

  • Most teachers said that alternate test formats change the nature of what is being assessed or the validity is contaminated

  • “I think it changes the test too much to change the number of items..I personally disagree with it”

Findings alternate test format1
Findings: Alternate Test Format

  • “Students who have a learning or language disability or who are slow learners are at a real disadvantage because the current accommodations that are allowed do not meet their needs”

Findings related to experience
Findings: Related to Experience

  • Beginning teachers and teachers with the most years of experience agreed that comparisons can be made between the test results of special needs students who use accommodations and regular education students who do not use them

Findings related to experience1
Findings: Related to Experience

  • “At 0-5 years you’re really eager but you’re not often exposed to the more high risk students”

  • “With beginning teachers they must think if the Ministry says it is a good idea, then it must be because they have little or no personal experience on which to base an opinion”

Findings related to experience2
Findings: Related to Experience

  • “Experienced teachers may have reached a point where they have witnessed so many changes that they no longer ponder the wisdom of each change they are told to make”

  • “Some of the older teachers had to write these kinds of tests and now in ON

    teachers have to write the Teacher Qualifying test”

Consequences of testing special needs students
Consequences of Testing Special Needs Students

  • “The stakes are so high and we need to help these students overcome this barrier when they already have so much to deal with”

  • “They can’t pass this test and then it slams the door on them”