Grade 10 Literacy Test Essay Examples


OSSLT Fast Facts:

What is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)?
The Grade 10 test is based on the reading and writing expectations in all subject areas up to the end of Grade 9. These skills are the basis for learning in all subject areas throughout both elementary and secondary school.

Who has to write it?
All students in Ontario who entered Grade 9 in September 2000 or later and are working toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) must write this test.

Why is it written in Grade 10?
It shows students how strong their literacy skills are while they still have time to improve them before finishing school.

What about students with special needs?
The standard and content of the test cannot be modified for anyone, but the test conditions can be changed. Students will be provided with accommodations as specified by EQAO when documented in their Individual Education Plan (IEP).  See your Learning Support Teacher (LST) in the Special Education Department for more information.

Can students who are not ready be exempted from writing the test?
Parents and/or principals may decide it is in a student’s best interest to defer writing the test until a later date. For example, an ESL student may need more time to develop language skills before writing the test.



OSSLT Test Format

The test includes two test booklets which contain reading and writing activities. In total, there are five reading passages, 41 multiple choice questions and 8 written response activities, including 6 short answer questions and 2 long writing tasks.

The test is administered in two 75 minute sessions with a break in between each session.



Students read five different passages, covering a range of topics. They vary in length from a single paragraph to two pages. Selections include the following forms:

  • Informational paragraph
  • News report
  • Dialogue
  • Real-life narrative
  • Graphic text

Students answer comprehension questions to demonstrate they can:

  • understand explicitly stated information and ideas
  • understand indirectly stated information and ideas
  • make personal connections to the text



Students must complete several writing tasks including:

  • two long writing samples
    • ? A news report (1 page)
    • ? A multi-paragraph opinion piece (2 pages)
  • Short writing tasks with a 6 line response
  • Multiple choice questions

Student writing must demonstrate skill in:

  • developing a main idea with sufficient supporting details
  • organizing and connecting information and ideas
  • using correct grammar, punctuation and spelling



When do students find out how they did on the test? 
Each student will receive his or her Individual Student Report in the summer or fall of 2013. The report indicates if a student passed or was unsuccessful. Only students who are unsuccessful will receive specific feedback about the skills they need to work on to pass.

What happens to students who do not pass the test? 
Students may retake the test the following year. For some students, the best option is to take the Grade 12 Literacy Course and receive direct instruction in needed areas while earning an additional credit towards graduation.

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2017 MCAS Sample Student Work and Scoring Guides

Below you will find scoring guides and samples of student work for released items from the spring 2017 MCAS tests. Scoring guides and student work samples are provided for the following item types: open-response items, constructed-response items, essay questions, and writing prompts (grade 10 ELA Composition only).

Annotations are included at all score points with the student work samples for the grades 3-8 ELA essay items and the grade 10 Composition and Reading Comprehension items.

Two different samples of student work have been included at the highest score point for all grades and subjects with a few exceptions: only one top-scoring sample has been released for Standard English Conventions for the ELA grades 3-8 essay items and the grade 10 ELA Composition; also, only one top-scoring sample has been released for Idea Development for the ELA grades 6 and 7 essay items, although it is anticipated that two top-scoring Idea Development samples will be included for these grades in future years.

The document Release of Spring 2017 MCAS Test Items contains all released items from the spring 2017 MCAS tests, as well as information about unreleased items. The document provides the following information about each released and unreleased operational item: reporting category, standard(s) covered, item type, and item description (where available). The document also lists any reference materials and tools that students were allowed to use during test sessions.

For more information see: Using This Online Tool

Question Directory for Student Work

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 10

High School

Main Question Directory for Student Work

Last Updated: October 13, 2017

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