Test-Takers’ Background, Literacy Activities, and Views of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test


  • Ying Zheng Pearson
  • Don A. Klinger Queen's University
  • Liying Cheng Queen's University
  • Janna Fox Carleton University
  • Christine Doe Queen's University




Literacy activities, home background, literacy performance, view of the test, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test


This study examined the relationships among students’ background information and their in-school and after-school literacy activities, as well as the relationships between students’ background and their views of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). The results showed that students’ literacy activities could be grouped into three types: e-literacy, traditional literacy, and creative literacy. Furthermore, results showed that categorization of literacy activities depended on whether the activities were conducted in English or in another language. Gender predicted certain types of literacy activities. Compared with English-as-a-first-language (L1) students, English-as-a-second-language (L2) students’ background influenced more of their views of the test.

Cette étude a porté sur les rapports, d’une part, entre les antécédents des élèves et leurs activités scolaires et parascolaires en matière d’alphabétisation et, d’autre part, entre ces renseignements généraux et la perception qu’ont les élèves du test provincial de compétence linguistique de l’Ontario (TPCL). D’après les résultats, il est possible de regrouper les activités d’alphabétisation des élèves en trois catégories : l’alphabétisation électronique, l’alphabétisation traditionnelle et l’alphabétisation créative. De plus, les résultats indiquent que la catégorisation des activités d’alphabétisation dépendait de la langue dans laquelle se déroulaient les activités (anglais ou autre). Le genre constituait une variable prédictive de certains types de ces activités. Les antécédents des élèves dont l’anglais était la langue seconde influençaient plus leur perception du TPCL que ceux des élèves pour qui l’anglais était la langue maternelle.

Author Biographies

Ying Zheng, Pearson

Ying Zheng is a psychometrician and Research Director for the Language Testing Division of Pearson, London, UK. Her research interests include psychometric analysis of language-testing data, English-as-second/foreign-language learner characteristics, and quantitative research methods.

Don A. Klinger, Queen's University

Don Klinger is an associate professor and member of the Assessment and Evaluation Group in the Faculty of Education at Queen's University, Kingston. His research explores the use of large-scale assessments and databases to inform educational policy and practice, and to identify those factors associated with improved educational outcomes.

Liying Cheng, Queen's University

Liying Cheng is an associate professor and a Director of the Assessment and Evaluation Group (AEG) in the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Kingston. Her primary research interests are the effect of large-scale testing on instruction, the relationship between classroom assessment and instruction, and the academic and professional acculturation of international and new immigrant students, workers, and professionals to Canada.

Janna Fox, Carleton University

Janna Fox is an associate professor and Director of the Language Assessment and Testing Research Unit in the School of Linguistics and Languages Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa. Her research emphases include language test development, validation, and the interplay between language policy, curricula, assessment, and stakeholder impact.

Christine Doe, Queen's University

Christine Doe is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Kingston. Her research interests include investigating how teaching and assessment practices support L2 students across educational contexts.


How to Cite

Zheng, Y., Klinger, D. A., Cheng, L., Fox, J., & Doe, C. (2011). Test-Takers’ Background, Literacy Activities, and Views of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 57(2), 115–136. https://doi.org/10.11575/ajer.v57i2.55472