What is the OSSLT?

The OSSLT is a provincial test of literacy (reading and writing) skills that students have acquired by Grade 10.  It is based on the literacy expectations of The Ontario Curriculum across all subject areas to the end of Grade 9. Successful completion of the OSSLT is required for graduating with the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. 

1.  Key Facts about the OSSLT

OSSLT Literacy Test for 2016/2017:  

OSSLT (paper/on-line):  March 30th, 2017 

--the test is a graduation requirement
--all grade 10s in the Province write this test on the same day!
--the OSSLT tests your reading and writing and thinking ability
--you have TWO booklets to complete in 150 minutes (75min./15min. break/75min.)

2.  What kind of tasks/questions are there on the OSSLT?

Reading:  in the past, students have been expected to read short stories/narratives; dialogues;  summaries; non-fiction informational segments;  maps; charts; diagrams; etc.
Based on what they have read, students have been expected to write and/or answer short answer questions (using point, proof, explanation format), summaries, multiple choice questions.

Key reading skills tested include the following:
--finding explicitly stated details that are in the reading section
--“inferring”—which means reasoning out an answer based on the information/context provided;  sometimes inferring requires one to “read between the lines”
--making connections to what one reads

Writing:  newspaper report, (5 paragraph) opinion piece, summary (usually based on readings), short answer questions (that use point, proof, explanation paragraph format).  

3.  Practice Literacy Test Activities
We feel it is important to do Practice Literacy Test activities with students.  Why?
a.  To make sure students are familiar with test format and content
b.  To figure out what we need to teach/re-teach to make sure that students are successful
c.  To identify any “at risk” students/students who may need extra help
d.  To see if any students would benefit from an after school Literacy program
e.  To let parents know if their children are “at risk” of failing or not doing well

For more information:  go to EQAO website and see Practice Tests and more test prep. suggestions!

4.  Sample Writing Tasks
A.  Sample Opinion Piece Question: 
Write a minimum of three paragraphs expressing an opinion on the topic below.  Develop your main idea with supporting details (proof, facts, examples, etc.).
Should zoos exist?                                                             
Should students have part-time jobs?
Should school be year-round?                                           
Should the voting age be lowered?
Should any course in school be mandatory?                     
Should schools provide lunches?

B.  Sample News Report Prompt:
Write a news report based on the headline and the picture provided.  You will have to make up the facts and information to answer some or all of the following questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?  You must refer to both the headline and the picture.

C.  Sample General Short Answer Questions:
Should every teenager join a team or a club?  Use specific details to explain why or why not.
What is the best advice you have ever given to someone?  Use specific details to explain your answer.
What do you do everyday to stay healthy?  Use specific details to explain why or why not.

D.  Summary Prompt:
Read the following selection.  State a main idea of the selection and identify one detail that supports the main idea.

Key points to remember (not only for the test, but for reading and writing in all classes):

1.  Remember to underline, highlight and annotate reading selections to help you to engage with and understand the text.  Be an active reader:  ask questions, make predictions, and make connections as you read!
2.  Carefully read and re-read instructions and questions; highlight/underline key words. 
3.  For Multiple Choice questions, cross off incorrect answer options right away. 
4.  Re-read reading selections to help you to find the answers if necessary!
5.  If you come across a word that you do not know, try to use the entire sentence to help you to figure out the meaning of the word.  Also try to “break the word down” into its root word and use any prefixes and suffixes to help you to “decode” it. 
6.  Develop “rough notes” to brainstorm ideas and plan out answers ahead of time.  Remember to use helpful graphic organizers like t-charts to help you with opinion answers. 
7.  Use the 5W’s (who, what, where, when, why) to start the summary lead of a newspaper article. Write your report using the third person (use an objective tone). 
8.  Use point, proof, explanation format for your answers.  Your “points” should be expressed in clear topic sentences; your proof should be as specific as possible; and your explanations should help you to explain how your proof supports your initial point!
9.  Use transitional words and phrases to help you move from one discussion to the next. 
10.  Always re-read and proofread your own work to correct any errors!
11.  Do not leave any answers blank and keep your answers within the lines provided.

Students will continue to receive literacy support in all of their classes at Aldershot.  

More information  about the test (and additional Practice Tests)  can be found at the EQAO website.