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An Overview of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test


The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is a provincial test of the reading and writing skills students have acquired by Grade 10. It is based on the literacy expectations defined by The Ontario Curriculum across all subject areas to the end of Grade 9. Successful completion of the OSSLT, or under certain circumstances the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC)


What does the OSSLT assess?


The OSSLT assesses reading skills.


Students will be required to read a variety of written texts that include the narrative, informational and graphic reading selections.


The OSSLT focuses on three reading skills:


Reading Skill 1: understanding explicitly stated information and ideas


Reading Skill 2: understanding implicitly stated information and ideas (i.e. making inferences)


Reading Skill 3: making connections between information and ideas in a reading selection and personal knowledge and experience



The OSSLT assesses writing skills


Students will be required to demonstrate their writing skills through a combination of multiple choice questions and two short and two long open-response writing tasks (the news report and the supported opinion).


The OSSLT focuses on three writing skills:


Writing Skill 1: developing a main idea with sufficient supporting details


Writing Skill 2: organizing information and ideas in a coherent manner


Writing Skill 3: using conventions (i.e. spelling, grammar, punctuation) in a manner that does not distract from clear communication.


What is on the test?


The OSSLT consists of two booklets of reading and writing items (questions) and tasks that include: 

  • 31 multiple-choice reading items related to five reading selections (narrative, informational and graphic texts);
  • Four open-response items related to three of the five reading selections;
  • Eight multiple-choice writing items;
  • Two short open-response writing tasks and
  • Two long open-response writing tasks (a series of paragraphs expressing an opinion and a news report)
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