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Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to write the OSSLT?

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    If you entered Grade 9 in September 2000 or later and are working toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), you must write the OSSLT. This applies to all students in publicly funded schools, private schools, overseas schools, correctional facilities and section 20 programs.

  2. What is the purpose of the OSSLT?

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    Its purpose is to determine whether or not 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 the 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 for the OSSD.

  3. Why am I writing the OSSLT in Grade 10 instead of closer to graduation?

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    Its purpose is to determine whether or not 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 the 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 for the OSSD.

  4. Will the OSSLT count toward my course marks?

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    No. The OSSLT is not tied to a particular subject and does not count toward any particular course grade. Successful completion of the OSSLT is one of the 32 requirements for the OSSD. The test will not count toward your course marks.

  5. Is the OSSLT difficult to pass?

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    The OSSLT is based on the literacy (reading and writing) skills that you have learned up until the end of Grade 9. It was developed by classroom teachers to resemble the work that students do in class every day. It has been designed to be a fair test of the skills you have already acquired. Students with special circumstances should contact their principal or teacher-advisor.

  6. What is on the OSSLT?

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    For more information, please see the Sample Test Materials and Getting Ready Guide.

  7. Can I take the OSSLT again if I do not successfully complete it?

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    For the 2003–2004 school year, students who had had two opportunities to take the OSSLT and had failed it at least once were eligible to enrol in the OSSLC. However, in June 2004, policy was changed to grant principals the discretion to allow a student to enrol in the OSSLC before he or she has had a second opportunity to take the OSSLT, if the principal determines that it is in the best educational interests of the student (Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum 127).

  8. Can I take the literacy course instead of the literacy test?

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    No. Only students who have been eligible to write the OSSLT at least twice and who have been unsuccessful at least once are eligible to take the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).

  9. Do universities and colleges have access to my OSSLT results?

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    No. Post-secondary institutions do not have access to your OSSLT Individual Student Report. They will have access to the Ontario Student Transcript, which indicates whether you have successfully completed this diploma requirement.

  10. Will my transcript indicate the number of times I have attempted the OSSLT?

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    No. The transcript will indicate only whether or not the graduation requirement has been met.

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