An Overview of the “new” OSSLT Online Testing Format (2021)

The Framework provides a detailed description of EQAO’s OSSLT (including how the test is grounded in the Ontario Curriculum’s expectations for literacy skills for all subjects up to the end of Grade 9) as well as a sample student report.

The OSSLT is a computer-based assessment that comprises two sessions (Session A and Session B) containing a total of 33 questions: 31 multiple-select questions (e.g., multiple-choice, drag and drop, drop-down menu, checklist, text selection) and two constructed open-response questions. The OSSLT uses a testlet-based linear on-the-fly (tLOFT) design. In this method, test forms are generated in real time through the selection of pre-constructed and pre-equated groups of questions and, where applicable, the associated reading selections. Each group generated under this model is mapped to a blueprint specifying criteria for the questions to be selected.

What’s New March 5, 2021 KGray

  • the test will be administered online only
  • only in class students may write the test (online students will not be able to attempt the test this year, but school boards MAY make arrangements for them to write on a case by case basis)
  • school boards/schools/students have a choice whether or not they’d like to ‘opt in’ to writing the test
  • the literacy requirement is not necessary for grade 12 students graduating this school year
  • there will be a ‘window’ of time where students will be able to attempt the test based on their school board (March-May)
  • the terms ‘Booklet 1’ and ‘Booklet 2’ have been replaced by ‘Session A’ and ‘Session B’
  • the new ‘sessions’ are shorter (60 minutes of time is allotted for each session, as opposed to 70 minutes that was previously allowed per booklet)
  • there are significantly fewer written questions (only one paragraph question, and one long writing task – opinion piece)
  • the built in tools for the test include: text to speech (must turn on), read aloud, highlighter, underline, eraser, zoom in/out, line reader, contrast, rough notes
  • there are new question types (drag and drop, checklists, sequencing of events)
  • there is a new online field test that students can take to practice the new format of the test
  • students must stick to their COVID cohorts when writing both the practice test and actual test

How to Prepare Students

  • EQAO is offering a Live Webcast series to support teachers and administrators in the transition to this new format
  • old preparation methods/test questions may still be used, involving reading and writing questions related to: Real Life Narrative, Information Paragraph, News Report, Dialogue, Writing Multiple Choice and Series of Paragraphs
  • students should attempt the new Practice Test to familiarize themselves with some of the new question formats, as well as the tools and test in general
  • there is no way of generating a complete output of student Practice Test responses or comparing the responses of a group of students which is very frustrating, so I created a Google Form that replicates the test, as well as generates a response page for students and creates the ability to compare student responses if all students complete the same form (you can create your own or purchase mine on TpT)
  • once practice test results are compiled, teachers should analyze what skills/question types their students are struggling with prior to the test, and assimilate those skills/question types into their everyday teaching practice
  • when organizing writing groups, teachers will have to be very conscious of COVID cohorts, as well as special education needs for students

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