Questions and Answers Regarding the Online OSSLT Field Test

    What is the purpose of the OSSLT field test?

    This year, EQAO is field testing a new online OSSLT. The purpose of this field test is to allow students and educators to become familiar with the new assessment model, to support the validation and development of the new e-assessment platform and to provide an opportunity for students to have successful attempts counted toward the literacy graduation requirement in Ontario before their graduating year.

    The online version of the OSSLT follows a new framework with new question types. Some of the question types are technologically enhanced multiple-select questions, meaning that students will answer questions by using a drop-down menu, a drag-and-drop method or by selecting answers in a checklist. Students will still complete open- response questions.

    Who can write the online OSSLT?

    Students in Grades 10 and 11, and non-graduating Grade 12 students, can participate in the field test and, if successful, have it counted on their transcript. 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.

    The OSSLT field test is being made available to students who are learning in-person. 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.

    How will administrators get access to the online OSSLT e-assessment system?

    Board IT staff will continue to use EQAO’s Student Data Collection System (SDC) to have student data uploaded to the e-assessment system. This data will be used by EQAO to send invitation e-mails to administrators and IT staff at participating schools and boards. Administrators will use these invitation e-mails to create their accounts in the online e-assessment system and validate student data. Administrators will then use the e-assessment system to invite the teachers who will administer the OSSLT to create their accounts. Teachers will provide a login code to students that will allow them to access the OSSLT.

    School administrators can create new sessions, edit or cancel sessions and view details about each session, including the invigilator assigned (the teacher in most cases), the number of students, the time (if the session has been scheduled) and the status of the session.

    Administrators and IT staff will find a Technical Readiness Checklist when they log into their accounts. The checklist will guide them through what they need to do to ensure that their school is ready to administer the online OSSLT. Schools and boards will not be able to deliver the OSSLT until their Technical Readiness Checklists are complete.

    EQAO staff will provide a live webcast series with details and guidance for navigating the new online assessment platform and for administering the OSSLT. To register for a webcast session as a teacher or an administrator, please click here. To register as board IT staff, please click here.

    How will the online OSSLT be administered?

    The online OSSLT will be administered between March 23 and June 4, 2021. The assessment does not need to be administered to all students at the same time. It can be administered to small groups of students at different times and on different days. Schools have flexibility in determining when students complete the OSSLT within the administration window. The OSSLT can be administered by teachers in class to students using a variety of school devices that use Windows and/or Mac operating systems, including Macs, Chromebooks, desktops, laptops, iPads and Android tablets. The assessment consists of two sessions. Both sessions (Session A and Session B) can be completed one after the other, either back-to-back with a break in between, or on two different dates and times.

    What is the format of the online OSSLT?

    On the top right of the page is an infographic of the assessment structure and content. Introductory Session. Session A, Reading, 19 questions, 60 minutes. Session B, Reading and Writing, 13 questions, Writing, 1 question. Series of paragraphs supporting an opinion, 60 minutes. Questionnaire session.The OSSLT is a computer-based assessment that comprises two sessions (Session A and Session B) containing a total of 33 questions: 31 questions (including technologically enhanced multiple-select questions [e.g., drag and drop, drop-down menu, checklist]) and two constructed open-response questions.

    Each session is designed to be completed in 60 minutes, and students will complete each session in one sitting. Additional time can be provided for any students who require it. The sessions can be completed one after the other, either back-to-back with a break in between, or on two different dates and times.

    At the end of the two assessment sessions, students will be presented with a questionnaire that asks them about their experiences, attitudes and perceptions with respect to literacy.

    The two sessions are presented to students in six groupings of the following types of questions:


    Real-life Narrative: reading passage with seven questions.
    Information Paragraph: reading passage with six questions.
    News Report: reading passage with six questions, including one written response.
    Dialogue: reading passage with five questions.


    Written Multiple-Choice: eight questions related to knowledge of writing conventions.
    Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion: one written response composed of a series of paragraphs.

    Additional information on the test design can be found in the framework at

    How can schools provide supports for success for students who require accommodations and/or who have an IEP?

    All students will have access to a Practice Test to familiarize themselves with the overall appearance and features of the online OSSLT. Support materials are available for all students once they log in to the online OSSLT. A set of accessibility tools, located in the student toolbar, are available for every student taking the OSSLT and include the following tools:
    • A help menu
    • A text-to-speech function that reads the text on the screen out loud
    • Zoom in and zoom out capabilities
    • A line reader that helps students focus on one line of text at a time
    • A high-contrast view
    • Annotation tools and rough notes
    All students will also have access to virtual breathing exercises, reminders of test-taking strategies and a minds-on activity to help them as they launch into the modernized OSSLT. School administrators and teachers can create a plan for any students who require the following:
    • Additional time
    • A quiet, individual and/or small group setting
    • Preferential seating
    • Prompts (for students who are off task)
    Accommodations for each student with special education needs must be consistent with assessment accommodations on the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and can include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Extended periodic supervised breaks
    • Sign language or an oral interpreter
    • A Unified English Braille version of the assessment with or without the audio version
    • Additional assistive technology
    • Verbatim scribing of answers
    The e-assessment system has a built-in text-to-speech function. The following is a list of third-party software that is also supported by the e-assessment platform:
    • Read&Write for Google Chrome
    • Dragon NaturallySpeaking
    • Kurzweil 3000
    • NVDA Screen Reader
    Provisions for English language learners can include the following:
    • Extended periodic supervised breaks
    The following alternative formats of the assessment have been created for students with special education needs, including students with a visual impairment:
    • A Unified English Braille version of the assessment (contracted or uncontracted)
    • MP3s with audio descriptions
    • An alternative version of the assessment in the e-assessment system with audio descriptions
    Please contact EQAO at to order these alternative formats of the assessment.

    When will results be released?

    Results will be released after the open-response questions have been scored. An Individual Student Report will be generated for students after the scoring of the assessment.

    Where can I get more information on the online OSSLT?

    The OSSLT Practice Test is available on the EQAO website.

    EQAO will be hosting a series of live webcasts for teachers, administrators, literacy leads and board IT staff. Please visit to register for the webcasts.

    The EQAO Outreach team will also offer additional support to boards and schools. Please contact EQAO at for additional information.

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