Ontario Secondary Diploma Requirement
In order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), a student entering Grade 9 in the first year and in subsequent years must earn a minimum of 30 credits, including 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits. Students must also complete 40 hours of community involvement activities and must complete the provincial secondary school literacy test.
- 18 Compulsory Credits + 12 Optional Credits
- 40 Hours of Community Involvement Activities
- The Provincial Secondary School Literacy Test
18 Compulsory Credits
|4 credits||English (1 credit per grade)|
|3 credits||Mathematics (at least 1 credits in grade 11 or 12)|
|1 credit||French as a Second Language|
|1 credit||Canadian History|
|1 credit||Canadian Geography|
|1 credit||Health and Physical Education|
|.5 credit (2)||Civics & Career Studies|
|1 credit||Health and Physical Education or Arts or Business Studies|
|1 credit||Science (grade 11 or 12) or technological education (grades 9-12)|
|1 credit||English or a third language, or Social Sciences and the Humanities, or Canadian and World Studies|
Community Involvement Activities
As part of the diploma requirements, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities. These activities may be completed at any time during the students years in the secondary school program. Community involvement activities may take place in a variety of settings, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, public sector institutions (including hospitals), and informal settings. Students may not fulfill the requirement through activities that are counted towards a credit (cooperative education and work experience, for example), through paid work, or by assuming duties normally performed by a paid employee. The requirement is to be completed outside students normal instructional hours that is, the activities are to take place in students designated lunch hours, after school, on weekends, or during school holidays. Students will maintain and provide a record of their community involvement activities. Completion of the required 40 hours must be confirmed by the organizations or persons supervising the activities.
Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test
The OSSLT is the standard method for assessing the literacy skills of students in Ontario for the purpose of determining whether students meet the provincial secondary school literacy requirement for graduation. The test thus identifies students who have demonstrated the required skills in literacy as well as those who have not demonstrated the required skills and will need to do further work. The test identifies the specific areas in which these students need remediation.
The test is administered through the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) once each year, usually in the spring.
Students who are working towards the OSSD under OSS will normally take the OSSLT when they are in Grade 10. Those who do not take the test in the year following the year in which they enter Grade 9 will require a deferral. Deferrals must be granted in accordance with the policies on deferrals in section 22.214.171.124 of OSS and on page 10 of this memorandum.
For students who entered Grade 9 in 1999–2000, successful completion of the test is not a graduation requirement. However, for those students who took the field test of the OSSLT in 2000–2001, failed the test, and chose to retake the OSSLT in October 2001, successful completion of the provincial literacy graduation requirement became a diploma requirement.
Students who are working towards an OSSD under OSS and who do not successfully complete the OSSLT will have opportunities to retake the test in subsequent years on dates scheduled by the EQAO. Once students have successfully completed the literacy test, they may not retake it.
For students with special education needs,1 accommodations2 specified in the student’s IEP must be available (see pages 6–10 of this memorandum). For students for whom required accommodations were not available on the day the OSSLT was administered, see also under “Students With Special Education Needs” on pages 4 and 5.
A student will take the OSSLT in the language of instruction of the school in which he or she is enrolled at the time of test administration. School boards3 should ensure that this policy is made known to students and to the parents4 of students who are planning to transfer from the English-language system to the French-language system, or vice versa, and have not yet fulfilled the literacy graduation requirement. A student who has successfully completed the OSSLT in either English or French is considered to have met the literacy graduation requirement, and will not have to retake the test in the other language after transferring to the receiving school.
As stated in section 3.1.4 of OSS, school boards are required to provide remedial assistance for students who do not complete the test successfully. This remedial assistance should be designed to help students improve their skills so that they are better prepared to retake the literacy test. For example, a board could offer a credit course on learning strategies or one on literacy skills for these students.