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​Preparing for the Literacy Test

The successful completion of the OSSLT (or the OSSLC)
is a requirement for a high school diploma.



Helpful Links


adobe Reading Skills 


adobe  Writing Skills 


adobe  Graphical Text


adobe  Making Inferences


adobe  News Report


adobe  Paragraphs


Sample Test Materials, from EQAO



How should a student prepare?

  • For the actual test day, get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.
  • You are already preparing by attending classes and completing assignments. The test only evaluates skills that are part of the regular curriculum.
  • Read materials on the EQAO website (link on right).

  • Get into the reading habit now. Read whenever you can - at least 15 minutes a day. Read all sorts of materials such as the back of cereal boxes when you're eating breakfast. The research proves that reading on a dialy basis enhances literacy skills.
  • Try the samples on the Independent Learning site (linked on right).

Don't Make These Mistakes!

Not too long ago, 1,983 Peel students wrote the OSSLT. Many of the writing tasks they completed, unfortunately, were not given a mark. In many cases, they were not counted because students were off-topic, left blank answers, produced illegible writing, or did not follow instructions. For example, a student may have written an acceptable piece of work, but if it was one paragraph instead of the three requested, it was not evaluated. All of this is mentioned to emphasize the importance of following instructions to be successful on the test.



Of the 1,983 Peel students who failed the writing component,

 the following percentages represent the tasks that were not counted.


Type of Task Instructions Not Followed Answer Off Topic Answer Blank or Illegible

Write a summary





Write a series of paragraphs supporting an opinion





Write a news report





Write an information paragraph







Characteristics of Successful and Unsuccessful Student Performance
(from EQAO)


Unsuccessful SUCCESSFUL

Simplicity: In ideas and sparse supporting details; in understanding and use of forms (e.g., personal essay, graphs and charts); and in vocabulary use.


Complexity: Big ideas; details selected to support generalizations; broad vocabulary; connects purposes, audience and form.

Repetition: The small set of ideas selected from texts or chosen for writing are used repeatedly; narrow range of skill sets for choice of vocabulary and sentence structure; syntax is often drawn from oral language.


Variety: Range of literacy and fluency skills; navigates and adopts different types of expression; produces own ideas; syntax is that of written language where appropriate; flexibility of expression.

Concreteness: Focus on specifics of tasks; straight-forward purposes in reading or writing; heavy reliance on personal experience for evidence.


Abstraction: Uses symbols and visualization in understanding and expression; transfers skills and prior knowledge to new situations.

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