Find out how many people pass the Ontario Literacy Course

A couple months ago I read a blog post where the person wondered how many people actually pass the OSSLC – they assumed that almost everyone did and that the course was a joke. I hate assumptions so I started looking for the answer.

Ontario Open Data was my initial starting point. I absolutely love that the government provides data – I have used it many times. Turns out that this information is not available. Next I tried a freedom of information request and I finally have the answer.
In 2015-2016 17,648 students passed the Ontario Literacy Courses in public (and Catholic) high schools in Ontario. This is out of 21,173 students that attempted the course. An 83% success rate is a far cry from 100%. It is also very close to the graduation rate (86.5% in 2016) which makes sense as it is a graduation requirement. 

What does it matter? I am actually relieved – a perfect success rate would call into question the integrity of the course. Obviously we want students to be successful but we are not going to water down our expectations to ensure success. It also opens new questions – how many people don’t graduate only because of the literacy requirement. How can we intervene to increase the success rate? Making data available allows people at the grassroots level make informed decisions.


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