OSSLT Preparation (Writing Skills)

The OSSLT (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test) is province-wide test administered by the EQAO to assess Ontario students’ literacy skills. In a previous blog: http://wp.me/pT6KW-4G, we outlined the reading skills and components of the OSSLT. Here we provide some general information about the writing skills that are assessed, as well as the written components of the OSSLT. If your student is writing the test this year, they should consult the OSSLT Getting Ready Guide (available on the EQAO website) http://bit.ly/eLz2Ga for more details.

According to the Getting Ready Guide, the OSSLT has short and long writing tasks as well as multiple choice questions that focus on three writing skills required in school and daily life. They are:

  1. Developing a main idea with sufficient supporting details
  2. Organizing information and ideas in a coherent manner, and
  3. Using conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) in a manner that does not distract from clear communication.


There are two long-writing tasks; writing a news report based on a picture and headline provided, and writing a series of paragraphs expressing an opinion on a given topic. For the newspaper report, students are expected to write a one-page report on the event that contains made up facts and information, which provide answers to Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?  For the series of paragraphs expressing an opinion, students are given a topic to write about. They are expected to develop a main idea with supporting details (proof, examples, etc.) and write a minimum of three paragraphs on the two pages provided for their response.

For more information, as well as ‘tips’ and ‘strategies’ for responding to short-writing tasks, visit the EQAO website and check out the Getting Ready Guide and sample tests.


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