For more than 25 years, Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) tests have been given by the province of Ontario to test the reading and mathematical readiness of students as they prepare for higher education and the workforce. These tests often caused students and teachers considerable stress as they felt that their test scores might in some way reflect badly on them. As an online school, we at VHS also held an in-person Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) each year with students often travelling hundreds of kilometres to our administrative building to write the test under our supervision.

This year, EQAO has decided to offer the OSSLT online as a trial for in-person learners only. So, what does this mean for remote learners like those at VHS, you ask?? Students learning at home this year have been advised by the Ontario Ministry of Education to register directly into the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OLC4O) to fulfil their literacy requirement.

Here are some perks to taking the OLC4O course this year:

  • No previous attempts at the OSSLT are required to register for the course.
  • As long as you have successfully completed Grade 9 English, you’re eligible to enrol in OLC4O.
  • The course can be completed at home at your own pace.
  • The successful completion of OLC4O will count as one elective credit toward your Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

In response to the new guidelines, VHS is proud to offer the OLC4O course to our students! Developers and teachers of the OLC4O course are especially pleased with the lessons which cover a range of experiences in writing. While the materials covered in OLC4O emphasize full and formal studies in becoming more proficient in academic English, the knowledge and practice acquired in this course also familiarize students with the everyday experiences they will have in their daily communication. In such cases, students gain experience in reading and interpreting graphic texts and in the understanding of such materials. In addition, the news report assignment gives students practice in writing in the everyday world and in relating events that resemble those covered in popular media.

View the full OLC4O course description here.

In order to check their progress, in the later stages of every unit, students are able to take quizzes that give them feedback on their understanding of the concepts covered in those lessons. These quizzes do not contribute to the final mark in the course but are meant to support the learning that has taken place and allow for review. Students also share their ideas in discussion posts in order to increase the level of discussion among peers as well as with their teachers in OLC4O. Taken together, the quizzes, discussion posts, lessons on everyday usage, and academic writing activities all give students in this course important experiences in English.

University and college admissions teams see the value in having students include OLC4O in their credits. Those who have taken the course will have gained varied and helpful experiences in the language that surpass those that are confirmed by the writing of a single test at a particular time. By successfully completing OLC4O, students become competent, capable writers who are fully prepared to continue their education in various contexts ranging from post-secondary institutions to the workplace.

Keep these important notes in mind as you check out the OLC4O course outline:

  • Grade 12 students graduating in June 2022 are not required to complete the literacy test or course.
  • Current Grade 10 and 11 students who are attending in-person classes at another Ontario school must make literacy test arrangements with their main school unless they have obtained permission to take OLC4O at VHS.

Feel free to get in touch with our guidance department (guidance@vhs.ucourses.com) for further details!