Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

All students who entered grade 9 in the 2000 – 2001 school year, or more recently must successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in order to earn a secondary school diploma. Students will normally be administered the literacy test when they are in grade 10. The test is based on Ontario curriculum expectations for language and communication, particularly reading and writing, up to and including grade 9.

The OSSLT is the standard method for assessing the literacy skills of students in Ontario for the purpose of determining whether students meet the provincial secondary school literacy requirement for graduation. The test identifies students who have demonstrated the required skills in literacy as well as those who have not demonstrated the required skills and will need to do further work. The test identifies the specific areas in which these students need additional study.

Students who write the OSSLT 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.


Students who are receiving special education programs and services and who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will receive the accommodations set out in their IEP.


Students who may benefit from deferring this test may include students who have been identified as exceptional and students registered in English as a Second Language (ESL)/English Literacy Development (ELD) courses who have not yet acquired the level of proficiency in English required for successfully completing the test. The principal determines if a deferral should be granted and the time period for the deferral.


Students whose Individual Education Plan (IEP) indicates that the student is not working towards the attainment of a secondary school diploma may, with parental consent and approval of the principal, be exempted from participating in the literacy test.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC)

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) has been developed to provide students who have been unsuccessful on the OSSLT with intensive support in achieving the required reading and writing competencies, and with an alternative means of demonstrating their literacy skills. Students who have had two opportunities to take the OSSLT and have failed it at least once are eligible to enroll in the OSSLC. In some cases, if the principal determines that it is in the best educational interests of the student, a student may enroll in the OSSLC before he or she has had a second opportunity to take the OSSLT.