Requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)

Per Ministry of Education policy, in order to earn the OSSD, a student must:

1. earn a minimum of 30 credits, including 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits
2. successfully complete the provincial secondary school literacy requirement
3. complete 40 hours of community involvement activities
Students must earn the following compulsory credits to obtain the OSSD:
  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
    • The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) may be used to meet either the grade 11 or grade 12 English compulsory credit requirement.
    • For English-language learners, the requirement may be met through earning a maximum of 3 credits in English as a Second Language (ESL) or English Literacy Development (ELD); the fourth credit must be a grade 12 compulsory English course.
  • 3 credits in mathematics (at least 1 credit in grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 credits in science
  • 1 credit in the arts
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography (grade 9)
  • 1 credit in Canadian history (grade 10)
  • 1 credit in French as a second language
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 0.5 credit in career studies
  • 0.5 credit in civics
  • 3 additional credits, consisting of 1 credit from each of the following three groups:
    • Group 1: English (including the OSSLC), French as a second language, classical languages, international languages, Native languages, Canadian and world studies, Native studies, social sciences and humanities, guidance and career education, cooperative education
    • Group 2: French as a second language, the arts, business studies, health and physical education, cooperative education
    • Group 3: French as a second language, science (grade 11 or 12), computer studies, technological education, cooperative education
  • A maximum of 2 credits in French as a second language may count as additional compulsory credits: 1 credit from Group 1 and 1 credit from either Group 2 or 3.
  • A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education may count as additional compulsory credits, selected from any of Groups 1, 2, or 3.
In addition to the 18 compulsory credits, students must earn 12 optional credits. Students may earn these credits by successfully completing courses that they have selected from the courses listed as available in the school course calendar.
All students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of unpaid community-involvement activities before graduating from high school. This requirement is in addition to the 30 credits needed for the OSSD. Students are responsible for fulfilling this requirement on their own time, and for keeping a record of their activities. In order to promote community values by involving students in their community in a positive manner, students must complete the 40 hours of community activities outside of scheduled class time. At Elpis College, students are required to take part in at least 10 hours of community service over each one-year period. Students who partake in eligible activities will be given certificates to indicate their community involvement. Students must select community activities appropriate to their age, maturity, and ability. They will not be allowed to partake in any activity in which their health or safety might be compromised. Community-involvement hours—that are completed while attending Elpis College—will be recorded on end-of-term report cards.
All students must meet the literacy graduation requirement, which is usually accomplished by successfully completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). A curriculum policy document outlining the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) was released in 2003, which states that students have two opportunities to take the OSSLT before they must enroll in the OSSLC. Revisions in 2004 granted principals the discretion to allow a student to enroll in the OSSLC after one failed attempt at the OSSLT.

The secondary school literacy graduation requirement is based on the Ontario curriculum expectations in language and communication. It evaluates the reading and writing skills that students should have learned up to and including in grade 9. Its purpose is to determine whether students have the skills in reading and writing that they will need to succeed at school, at work, and in daily life. Students can only take the test during or after their grade-10 year. English as a Second Language students will take the test only when they have reached this level of education in their language studies.

From time to time, Elpis College will offer the OSSLC. We offer the course only when the situation satisfies particular demands, including teacher and facility availability and student registration. To register for the OSSLC at Elpis College, we advise interested students to notify us of their intent to register for the course as soon as they receive unsatisfactory OSSLT scores. Students (and parents) must fill out a registration form and pay any fees as soon as possible to ensure a spot in the next OLC class.

Please note the following:
1)Successfully completing the OSSLC may be used to meet the grade 11 (OLC3O) or grade 12 (OLC4O) compulsory credit requirement in English, but it may not be used as a substitution for another compulsory course.
2)Students may not challenge the OSSLC for credit through Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).
3)No modifications of expectations are permitted in either OLC3O or OLC4O.
4)The adjudication process, as a way of meeting the secondary school literacy graduation requirement, does not apply to private 5)schools and, hence, is not executed at Elpis College.
Students who pass the course are considered to have met the literacy graduation requirement.
Elpis College allows students to take some courses in substitution for compulsory courses. If a student wishes to make a substitution, he/she must put the request in writing—outlining the courses the student wishes to substitute and the reasons for the request—and submit it to the principal. The principal initiates the process of making substitutions for compulsory courses. The final decision on which courses are eligible for substitution and which courses are eligible as substituted courses resides with Elpis College and may not be appealed. Forms for substituting compulsory courses are available from Administration.
Elpis College reserves the right to waive prerequisite courses for students on a case-by-case basis. Prerequisite courses may be waived if the College feels that a student has sufficient knowledge in one subject area level that would render taking a particular course futile. Prerequisite courses may also be waived if Elpis College feels that a student has insufficient knowledge in the fundamentals of one subject area that would render taking a particular course detrimental to both the student’s potential marks and the integrity of the course. If a student wishes to waive a prerequisite course, he/she must put the request in writing and submit it to the principal. The final decision on which courses are eligible for waiving resides with Elpis College and may not be appealed. Forms for waiving prerequisite courses are available from Administration.
The PLAR process, as written by the Ministry of Education, states:
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is the formal evaluation and credit-granting process whereby students may obtain credits for prior learning. Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside secondary school. Students may have their knowledge and skills evaluated against the expectations outlined in provincial curriculum policy documents in order to earn credits towards the secondary school diploma. The PLAR process involves two components: “challenge” and “equivalency”.

The “challenge” process is the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a grade 10, 11, or 12 course developed from a provincial curriculum policy document published in 1999 or later.

In general, Elpis College does not accept challenges for credits. However, if so done, the school will determine if a student has adequately similar knowledge of the contents of a given course as a student who has taken that course. Through this process, Elpis College will consider that student as having equivalent knowledge that is equivalent to the credit value of the challenged course in question.

The “equivalency” process is the process of assessing credentials from other jurisdictions. Through this process, Elpis College will determine if a course from another institution has adequately similar content to one offered at the school so as to consider both courses (and credit values) “equivalent”.

Challenge and equivalency procedures are available to mature students, but the requirements differ because of their broader life experience. To determine if a student can use acquired school credits/experiences as course equivalents or if he/she can challenge for a credit, the student must request an interview with the school. At the interview, Elpis College will review information provided and will determine which, if any, credits/experiences can be granted equivalency or may be used to challenge for credit. Students are responsible for obtaining documentation regarding school-related or experiential information to provide the school with a comprehensive background. A copy of the equivalency and/or challenge for credit will be placed in the student’s OSR folder.

All credits granted through the PLAR process must represent the same standards of achievement as credits granted to students who have taken the relevant courses.

For complete information on the PLAR process, including an exhaustive list of inclusions and exclusions, please visit the Ministry of Education site.
Elpis College allows course transfers to occur no later than three school days after the first class of either course. No notation will be entered on the OST if the transfer occurs during this period. Transfers will only be accommodated if the change does not negatively affect either course on the basis of class numbers, room occupancy numbers, and other pertinent factors. Should Elpis College become unable to offer a course in which students are registered, the affected students will be given the opportunity to transfer to another course being offered at Elpis College or to withdraw from the session without penalty.
Elpis College does not currently offer courses through independent or private studies. All courses are classroom-type courses that require mandatory in-class attendance in addition to completing assigned work.
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