What is the OSSLT based on?
The OSSLT is based on the expectations for literacy (reading and writing) across all subjects in the Ontario curriculum up to the end of Grade 9. These skills are the basis for learning in all subject areas throughout the middle and secondary school years. For more information, please refer to the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test Framework and Curriculum Connections, posted on the EQAO web site.
What is the purpose of the OSSLT?
The purpose of the OSSLT is to determine whether students have acquired the literacy (reading and writing) skills that they are expected to have learned by the end of Grade 9, as outlined in the Ontario curriculum. The OSSLT identifies students who have demonstrated these required literacy skills, as well as those who have not demonstrated these skills and need additional instruction and practice. Successful completion of the OSSLT is one of the 32 requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
Who created the OSSLT? Who marks the test?
The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is developed by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), an independent agency of the provincial government. Student work is sent to EQAO for marking. The student’s teacher does not mark the tests.
How will the test be scored?
The test is marked on a pass/fail basis. Students who write the test but do not succeed must re-take the test and complete it successfully in order to qualify for a secondary school diploma. There is no limit to the number of times the test may be re-taken.
Do the results of the OSSLT count toward students’ regular grades?
No. The OSSLT is not tied to a particular subject and does not count towards any particular course grade.
Successful completion of the OSSLT is one of 32 requirements for OSSD. The OSSLT is based on the expectations for reading and writing across all subjects in the Ontario curriculum.
What is EQAO’s policy on ranking schools?
EQAO is opposed to the ranking of schools or school boards. Rankings tell us nothing about why results are high or low. They invite simplistic and misleading comparisons that ignore the particular circumstances affecting achievement in each school. Ranking tends to distract people from addressing the critical issue of how to improve learning for all students.
Will I be able to see the test or an individual student’s work from a test?
No. The OSSLT is a secured test. Parents, teachers, and members of the public may not see the test, nor will they be allowed to view the work of any individual student. EQAO does make sample questions from previous tests available for viewing. These can be found on the EQAO web site.
What supports will be available to students during the testing?
Due to the secure nature of the test, teachers administering the test must follow strict procedures during the testing period and may not assist students while they are writing the test. Teachers may not clarify questions or provide other supports unless the student has special needs and meets the requirements that allow for accommodations.
What happens if a student has special needs?
For students with special needs, accommodations or deferrals are permitted by EQAO. Accommodations are adjustments made to the test conditions (e.g. additional time, large print versions of the test, access to special work area, etc.). Deferrals permit students to first write the test in their grade 11 or grade 12 year. There are no exemptions from the test for students who plan to graduate with a secondary school diploma.
In what languages can the test be written?
The Literacy test must be written in English or French. Students in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program may request that the test be deferred until their grade 11 or grade 12 school year, and are required to successfully complete the test in order to qualify for a secondary school diploma.
What happens if a student is absent for the test?
As mandated by the Ministry, students who are absent (for any reason) for the test will not be given the opportunity to write the test at an alternative time. However, these students will be able to write the test at the next scheduled province-wide administration.
What happens if a student is not successful on the test?
Successful completion of the OSSLT is a requirement for students who entered grade 9 in September 2000 or later and are working toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Students who are not successful will have the opportunity to re-take an equivalent test in future years. There is no limit to the number of times that the test may be re-taken.
Will a student’s transcript indicate the number of times he or she has attempted the OSSLT?
No. The transcript will indicate only whether or not the graduation requirement has been met.
What is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course?
The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) is a full-credit grade 12 course that will be offered as part of the English program in Ontario secondary schools. This course is designed to help students acquire and demonstrate the literacy skills that are evaluated by the Literacy Test. Students who complete the course successfully will meet the provincial literacy requirement for graduation.
Eligibility requirement to take the course:
Students who have been eligible to write the Literacy Test at least twice and who have been unsuccessful at least once, are eligible to take the course.
How can someone learn more about the test and what will be required to complete the test successfully?
Teachers at all secondary schools are helping students understand the requirements of the test and are providing practice opportunities so that they are well prepared to write the test. Those wishing to learn more are encouraged to visit the EQAO web site.