What is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test?
The OSSLT is a standardized test of writing and reading comprehension that is written by students across Ontario, ideally in the grade 10 year. All eligible students will write the test at Lakeshore CI on April 10, 2018 during the school day. The test is broken into two sections, each consisting of writing tasks as well as reading passages followed by questions. A passing grade is 70% or 300 points. You must pass the OSSLT or take the Ontario Literacy Course to receive your high school diploma. What is the OSSLT?
What’s on the OSSLT?
You might recognize some of these tasks from lessons and assignments given to you in English class in grades 9 and 10.
To be successful at the OSSLT, students should be able to:
- Read a passage and answer questions that are directly stated in the reading,
- Read a passage and answer questions that are not directly stated,
- Determine the main idea of a reading,
- Answer multiple choice questions regarding directly or indirectly stated information in a reading piece,
- Use common knowledge to relate reading to a concept in their lives or in the world,
- Infer the meaning of unknown words based on the context,
- Compose a short piece that clearly states an opinion, supporting evidence and the reasons why the evidence supports the opinion,
- Compose a longer writing piece that uses facts to support a thesis, giving reasons why the evidence supports the main thesis,
- Compose a news report based on a photo and headline that is provided.
There are a few different tasks that students must complete in order to demonstrate the success criteria above. Please click on the link to our LCILiteracy YouTube channel to watch videos that can help you understand how to best answer each type of question.
What can I do to prepare for the OSSLT?
Throughout grade 9 and 10 English classes, as well as other core subjects, you have been practising for the OSSLT without even knowing it, but everything you do to improve your literacy will help to aim you toward success.
- Everyday, make it a habit to read for at least fifteen minutes. Find something that interests you – a book, a magazine, a website. The best reading to improve literacy is something that makes you think, something you really enjoy, and something that you can talk about with others. Speak with Ms. Mannella in the library for recommendations.
- Write. Write letters or keep a journal. Write short stories to entertain your friends. You can even get your work published online! Follow this link to Scholastic.com’s writing workshop, where you can develop skills for writing in a specific genre and publish work online: http://teacher.scholastic.com/writeit/index.asp
- Pay attention to the feedback your teacher gives you, either verbally or on tests and essays.
- Use the TEL format you have been taught to make sure you are properly explaining your thoughts on paper. Remember, TEL stands for Topic, Explanation (or evidence) and Link. Support your topic sentence with evidence, and then clearly explain how the evidence supports the topic.
- Try the practice test that is found below to familiarize yourself with the format of the OSSLT and the types of questions you can expect. There are 2 question booklets. Try them out, then compare your answers to the corresponding answer booklets. The answer keys are also there so that you can see how your answers will be graded. Keep in mind that the questions and readings change from year to year.
Click on these links to download Booklet 1 and its answer key: osslt-practice-test-booklet1-question.pdfosslt-practice-test-booklet1-answer.pdf
Click on these links to download Booklet 2 and its answer key: osslt-practice-test-booklet2-question.pdfosslt-practice-test-booklet2-answer.pdf
Video links to help you understand and prepare can be found on our LCI Literacy YouTube channel.
What will we be doing at school to prepare?
Don’t worry! We will have an assembly for students writing the OSSLT this year and talk all about the test and how we will prepare you in school.
In the meantime, if you have any concerns about writing the OSSLT, please speak with Ms. Wallace, Mrs. Mohammed, your GLE teacher or your guidance counsellor.