Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test

The OSSLT measures whether students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. Successful completion of the literacy test is one of the requirements to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. All students across the province write this test.

EQAO will be field testing the online OSSLT field test from March 2021 until June 2021. The field test is being made available to students who are learning in-person and working toward their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). This will allow the opportunity for students in Grades 10 and 11, and non-graduating Grade 12 students, to attempt the test and, if successful, have it counted on their transcript. Should a student who is learning remotely wish to participate in the field test, the board may plan for the student to participate in person. Schools should focus on ensuring that cohorts are maintained and that all necessary public health directives and school-board health and safety measures continue to be implemented.

As the literacy graduation requirement for all students graduating during the 2020–2021 school year has been waived, graduating students do not need to take the field test.

On this page

    Administering the Assessment

    User Guides for the Administration of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, 2020–2021

    These online user guides provide direction and information to school administrators, teachers and IT professionals at schools and boards who are involved in the administration of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. The user guides provide guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the role of teachers, administrators and IT professionals in the administration of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test.

    The user guides will help guide

    • teachers through key aspects, including accessing their accounts, managing their classrooms, preparing their students for assessment sessions, and administering the official assessment sessions.
    • school administrators through key aspects, including accessing and navigating their accounts; managing student lists at their school as well as upcoming assessment sessions and teacher accounts; and being a primary point of contact for teachers.
    • school boards’ IT team and representatives through key aspects, including navigating the general technical readiness process and preparing for the accessibility and accommodations options, bandwidth and connectivity requirements, security and domain allowed-list protocols as well as the configuration of devices.

    Questions and Answers Regarding the Online OSSLT Field Test

    Here are some frequently asked questions about the functions, format and administration of the online OSSLT field test.

    Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) Framework [PDF]

    The Framework provides a detailed description of EQAO’s OSSLT (including how the assessment is grounded in the Ontario Curriculum’s expectations for literacy skills for all subjects up to the end of Grade 9) as well as a sample student report. In 2021, EQAO will be field testing a computer-based assessment that comprises two sessions (Session A and Session B) containing a total of 33 questions: 31 multiple-choice questions (including technologically enhanced multiple-select questions [e.g., drag and drop, drop-down menu, checklist]) and two constructed open-response questions.

    Practice Test

    In 2021, EQAO will be field testing an online Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). Students have the opportunity to become familiar with the online test and its platform through EQAO’s online practice test. The online practice test comprises two sessions, which include content from previous tests. The practice test is equivalent to the two sessions students will be completing during the live test. In addition, the practice test includes an introductory session that allows students to become familiar with the new online platform’s tools and functions.

    Live Webcast Series

    EQAO’s Online OSSLT – for Teachers, Administrators and Literacy Leads 

    EQAO staff will provide details and guidance related to navigating the new online assessment platform and administering the OSSLT.



    EQAO’s Online OSSLT – Board IT Staff

    EQAO staff will provide details related to technical readiness and navigation of the online assessment platform for the 2020-2021 OSSLT field test.


    Understanding the Results

    Characteristics of Successful and Not Yet Successful Student Performance on the OSSLT

    The document is designed to clarify the distinction between successful and unsuccessful performance on the OSSLT. This information will assist educators to help unsuccessful students understand what “getting better” at literacy looks like, to identify evidence that will help a student move from one category to another and to discuss areas for student improvement with parents.

    Standard-Setting Process

    The Standard-Setting Process is a historical document outlining the process used to define the standards for the OSSLT.

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