What is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)?
The Grade 10 test is based on the reading and writing expectations in all subject areas up to the end of Grade 9. These skills are the basis for learning in all subject areas throughout both elementary and secondary school.
Who has to write it?
All students in Ontario who entered Grade 9 in September 2000 or later and are working toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) must write this test.
Why is it written in Grade 10?
It shows students how strong their literacy skills are while they still have time to improve them before finishing school.
What about students with special needs?
The standard and content of the test cannot be modified for anyone, but the test conditions can be changed. Students will be provided with accommodations as specified by EQAO when documented in their Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Can students who are not ready be exempted from writing the test?
Parents and/or principals may decide it is in a student’s best interest to defer writing the test until a later date. For example, an ESL student may need more time to develop language skills before writing the test.
The test includes two test booklets which contain reading and writing activities. In total, there are five reading passages, 41 multiple choice questions and 8 written response activities, including 6 short answer questions and 2 long writing tasks.
The test is administered in two 75 minute sessions with a break in between each session.
Students must complete several writing tasks including:
Two long writing samples
A news report (1 page)
A multi-paragraph opinion piece (2 pages)
Short writing tasks with a 6 line response
Multiple choice questions
Student writing must demonstrate skill in:
Developing a main idea with sufficient supporting details
Organizing and connecting information and ideas
Using correct grammar, punctuation and spelling
When do students find out how they did on the test?
Each student will receive his or her Individual Student Report in the summer. The report indicates if a student passed or was unsuccessful and is sent to the site where the student wrote the test. Only students who are unsuccessful will receive specific feedback about the skills they need to work on to pass.
What happens to students who do not pass the test?
Students may retake the test the following year. For some students, the best option is to take the Grade 12 Literacy Course and receive direct instruction in needed areas while earning an additional credit towards graduation.