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Important update for graduating students: 2021 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

March 17, 2021

The Upper Grand District School Board would like to provide an update to secondary students and families regarding the 2021 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).

Typically, graduating students are required to complete the OSSLT or course to be eligible to graduate. However, for students graduating in 2021, the Ministry of Education has waived the literacy graduation requirement. This means that UGDSB Grade 12 students do not need to complete the literacy test or course to be eligible to graduate this year. 

The UGDSB has decided not to participate in the administration of the OSSLT field test in the 2020-21 school year. Students who are currently in grades 10 and 11 will be given the opportunity to write the test in the 2021-2022 school year. 

Rationale for this Decision

Making the most of in-class time:

In our current secondary quadmester model, students attend school in cohorts with a reduced number of hours and days at school. Adding the literacy test to the fourth quadmester would reduce the amount of class time available to learn the core curriculum. Class time for each cohort would have to be used for OSSLT test preparations and test administration. For students who have accommodations allowing for up to double the two hour test writing time, they would experience the loss of up to two days of in-person class time.

Ensuring equity for all students:

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) is the organization that administers the literacy test, and this school year they are field testing the new, online OSSLT from March to June. Within the parameters of the OSSLT field test being piloted by EQAO, only students who are able to come in person to school sites would be able to attempt the test this spring. This format excludes students in remote learning who are unable to come to their home school to take part in the test. The loss of class time associated with administering the test also disproportionately affects English language learners and students with special education needs.

Student well-being:

Student well-being is always our top priority and we believe that the past year has been challenging for students. We feel that our students and families do not need the pressure of an additional high-stakes standardized test that cannot be provided to all students under equitable conditions this school year.

2021-22 School Year

UGDSB staff will continue to plan for the 2021-22 school year and will provide updates about the 2021-22 OSSLT literacy test and course at a later date. 

If students have questions about graduation or pathway planning, they are encouraged to contact their school guidance office. 

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