By Mike Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Students from Haliburton Highlands Secondary School [HHSS] will not be forced to take the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test [OSSLT] this school year.
In a release to parents last Thursday [March 18], HHSS principal Chris Boulay said students wouldn’t have to sit the previously compulsory test, which is being offered online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was ultimately made by administration within Trillium Lakelands District School Board [TLDSB] and relayed to all of its secondary schools last week.
The OSSLT measures whether students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. The test is typically written during the Grade 10 year, with all students previously needing to pass it in order to graduate and receive their OntarioSecondary School Diploma.
TLDSB has decided that students set to graduate from school this year who hadn’t already completed their OSSLT won’t be required to do so. This is a continuation of a rule implemented last year, waiving OSSLT requirements for students ready to graduate. The literacy test itself was cancelled last spring for the 2019/20 school year.
The Education Quality and Assurance Office [EQAQ] has been field testing an online version of the OSSLT on a trial basis this year. According to Boulay, TLDSB has decided not to participate in that trial “for a number of reasons.”
“The trial test is only available to students in face-to-face in-school settings, creating an inequity for students who are participating in at-home learning,” Boulay said. “In the octomester system, the training and preparation for a trial test will take considerable, and precious, time away from other course requirements disrupting an already rigorous agenda for students.”