The Grade 10 Literacy Test, otherwise known as the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, (OSSLT) can be a source for stress because students must pass the OSSLT in order to graduate high school.
This test measures whether students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy - reading and writing - across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. The test is used to assess your teen’s achievements, as well as provide insight into student achievement at the school, district, and provincial level.
The test includes two test booklets which contain reading and writing activities. In total, there are five reading passages, 41 multiple choice questions and 8 written response activities, including 6 short answer questions and 2 long writing tasks. The test is administered in two 75 minute sessions with a break in between each session.
What you can do as a parent, to help your child prepare for the OSSLT
- Recognize that studying will not prepare teens for the test
- Your teen will do better on the test when she/he feels comfortable and confident – talk to your teen to find out if there are concerns, questions, or anxieties
- Talk to your teen’s teacher(s) to learn more about what the class/school is doing to help prepare students to take the test
- Have fun with the test – celebrate as a family, make it into a game or a friendly competition
- Do take-home test preparation activities together – your teen will enjoy seeing you challenged!
- Make up questions for the test based on family history, current events, etc.
- Don’t do practice tests with your teen. This can add a lot of stress to you both!
- Remember, you want your teen to be positive and comfortable with writing the OSSLT. Fear and anxiety can do much to inhibit their successful completion of the test.
Some students will need special accommodations when they write the test, such as when they have an IEP or have an ESL designation. It may be in your teen’s best interests to defer writing the test until next year. Talk to the school about your concerns. Remember, you are your teen’s advocate.
Results are reported as successful or unsuccessful. If the results are unsuccessful, don’t panic. There are other opportunities for your teen to meet this graduation requirement.
- Talk to your teen’s teacher/school to find out what remedial opportunities are available
- There will be opportunities during Grade 11 and Grade 12 to rewrite the test
- Your teen may be eligible to complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course, where students are given direct instruction about the skills assessed in the OSSLT
- Talk to your teen about how she/he feels about the results
- The Ontario Secondary School Diploma will indicate that the OSSLT requirement has been met, and it won’t identify the number of attempts to pass the test
- Test results DO NOT affect your child’s grades in any subject
There are some online resources available to you, put out by the organization that governs the testing, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).
Here are some ideas for your teen to help prepare