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Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) Prep

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is a provincial test of literacy (reading and writing) skills students have acquired by Grade 10. Its successful completion is a requirement for graduation.  The OSSLT is administered by Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) in the Spring. An Individual Student Report with your results will be mailed available and mailed to you in June. If you have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), you may be able to get an accommodation. Visit EQAO's website or contact the school for more information.

During the 2018/2019 school year, the OSSLT will be administered on Wednesday March 27th, 2019, in the morning.

The test is comprised of four booklets, two question booklets and two corresponding answer booklets. At our school, the schedule for the OSSLT is as follows:

8:00 am - Report to designated writing location
8:00 – 9:15 am - Booklet 1, 75 minutes
9:15 – 9:45 am - Break
9:45 – 11:00 am - Booklet 2, 75 minutes
11:00 – 11:15 am - Student Questionnaire, 15 minutes
11:15am – 12:05 pm - Regular lunch time
12:05 – 2:10 pm - Afternoon classes, as regularly scheduled

In addition to the ongoing help of teachers in all classes, there are a number of web-based resources that can help get students prepared to write the test:

Parents too can help prepare their child for the OSSLT at home.  What can you do?

  •       Encourage your son/daughter to read at home and talk about what they’re reading.

  •     This can be fiction, non-fiction, print, or digital.

  •        Ask your son/daughter to summarize the important points in the selections that they’re reading.

  •       Some students struggle with pinpointing the main idea, and differentiating between main ideas and other details that don’t matter.

  •        Ask your son/daughter to physically point to, in the text, how they know certain details in what they’re reading.

  •     We identified that when asked some questions, students do not refer back to the text and may be giving incorrect responses.

  •       When your son/daughter is doing homework for any subject, ask them to show you how they’ve planned their written responses.  Some students have difficulty planning and organizing, and their resulting work is disjointed.

Success Criteria for different OSSLT questions - things to keep in mind:

General Strategies

  • Manage your time to ensure completion

  • Skim the section and then read it closely

  • Underline or highlight important information

  • Think about what you read and ask questions

  • Try to "see" what you are reading

  • Look for links between what you are reading and prior knowledge

  • Look for root word, prefixes and suffixes of words you don't understand

  • Look for clues in sentences of unfamiliar words

  • When having trouble understanding an idea, either read on until the meaning becomes clear, or reread.

Strategies for Multiple Choice
  • Read and reread questions carefully

  • Read the four answers and eliminate wrong answers

  • Record your answer in the answer booklet

Strategies for Open-Response Questions:

  • Keep your answer within six lines
  • Answer using specific and relevant details
  • Make connections between the ideas and info
  • Reread your response to ensure you have answered all parts of the question and correct any error

Success Criteria:

Short Answers:

  • I can answer using part of the question

  • I can provide specific and relevant proof to support my answer

  • I can explain how my proof supports my answer

  • I can write enough to fill the space without going over


Multiple Choice:

  • I read the questions BEFORE reading the text

  • I read the text thoroughly

  • I reread the paragraph indicated in the question

  • I cross out the answers I know are wrong and choose the best answer

  • I guess if I don't know an answer

  • I record my multiple-choice answers on the Student Answer Sheet


Long Writing Opinion Piece:

  • I can write a well-developed introductory paragraph and clearly state my opinion on the topic

  • I can state my opinion and maintain and justify my opinion throughout my writing

  • I can identify three ideas that support my opinion and explain them in three separate paragraphs, using specific details

  • I can use transitional words and phrases to begin paragraphs and link ideas

  • I can summarize my opinion with a concluding paragraph


Long Writing News Report:

  • I can make up facts and information to answer the 5 Ws + how in a news report based on a headline and picture

  • I can organize my information into the form of a news report

  • I can use direct and indirect quotes to develop my report

  • I can focus on the topic and use supporting details to explain the topic to my audience




Types of reading selections:

· information paragraph
(225-250 words)

· news report
(225-250 words)

· dialogue
(225-250 words)

· real-life narrative
(550-600 words)

· graphic text
(fewer than 150 words)

Types of writing tasks and questions:

· two long writing tasks

o news report

· series of paragraphs expressing an opinion
(two pages)

· two short-writing tasks
(six lines each)

· multiple choice questions

  • developing an main idea with supporting details
  • organization of ideas
  • language conventions

Types of questions:

· multiple choice

· open response
(six lines each)

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