Questions and Answers Regarding the Online OSSLT

    Who can write the online OSSLT?

    Students in Grades 10 and 11, and non-graduating Grade 12 students, can participate in the test and, if successful, have it counted on their transcript. As the literacy graduation requirement for all students graduating during the 2021–2022 school year has been waived, graduating students do not need to take the OSSLT.

    The OSSLT is being made available to students who are learning in-person. Should a student who is learning remotely wish to participate in the OSSLT, 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, along with their OEN, 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. 

    Webcast registration for: 

    How will the online OSSLT be administered?

    The online OSSLT will be administered between October 13 and December 1, 2021, and between March 23 and May 18, 2022. The test 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 multiple-select questions (e.g., multiple-choice, drag and drop, drop-down menu, checklist, text selection) 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 (RLN): a reading selection and seven multiple-select reading questions.
    • Information Paragraph (IP): a reading selection and six multiple-select reading questions.
    • News Report (NR): a reading selection, one written response and five multiple-select reading questions.
    • Dialogue (DI): a reading selection and five multiple-select reading questions.
    • Writing Multiple-Select (WMS): eight multiple-select writing questions.
    • Opinion Essay (OP): one written response composed of a series of paragraphs supporting an opinion.

    Additional information on the test design can be found in the Framework.

    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, is available for every student taking the OSSLT and includes 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 (highlighter, line, eraser) 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 test 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 are 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 test have been created for students with special education needs, including students with a visual impairment:

    • A Unified English Braille version of the test (contracted or uncontracted)
    • MP3s with audio descriptions
    • An alternative version of the test in the e-assessment system with audio descriptions

    Please contact EQAO to order these alternative formats of the test.

    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 test.

    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 to register.

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

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