Diploma Requirements

OSSD Diploma Requirements

In order to earn the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) as outlined under the Ontario Schools Kindergarten to Grade 12, a student must:

  • Earn 18 Compulsory Credits
  • Earn 12 additional Optional Credits
  • Successfully Pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)
  • Complete 40 hours of Community Involvement Activities
Compulsory Credits – 18 Credits

Students must earn the following compulsory credits in order to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
  • 1 credit in French
  • 3 credits in Mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 credits in Science
  • 1 credit in Canadian History
  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography
  • 1 credit in the Arts
  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education
  • .5 credits in civics
  • .5 credits in career studies
The other 3 compulsory credits should come from one of the courses in each group:

Group 1: English (including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course), 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

Note: The following conditions apply to selections from the above three groups:
  • 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 Group 3.
  • A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education may count as additional compulsory credits, selected from any of Groups 1, 2, or 3.
Optional Credits – 12 Credits

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 by the school.

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

Students must pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) which is administered annually in March. Passing the test is a requirement to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The test is scheduled annually and is administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). The result is recorded on the student transcript.

Students will normally take the test in Grade 10. However, deferrals may be granted to some students – ESL students, for example, may be allowed to defer taking the test until they have reached the appropriate level of proficiency in English. Students will write the OSSLT at their regular day school.

Community Involvement

As part of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities. The purpose of this activity is to remind students of their community obligations and to encourage them to contribute to society beyond the minimum number of hours required as well as to continue to make a selfless contribution to their community in the future. Community Involvement hours must be completed and recorded with the student’s regular day school.


Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) and Certificate of Education/Accomplishment

The Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) is a certificate granted on request to students who leave secondary school without having met the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. To be granted an OSSC, a student must have earned a minimum of 14 credits as follow:

Compulsory Credits (Total of 7)
  • 2 credits in English
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography or Canadian history
  • 1 credit in mathematics
  • 1 credit in science
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in the arts, technological education or computer studies
Optional Credits (Total of 7)
  • 7 credits selected by student from available courses
Note: Provisions for substitutions of compulsory courses also applies to the OSSC.
Certificate of Accomplishment

Students who leave school before fulfilling the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma or the Ontario Secondary School Certificate may be granted a Certificate of Education/Accomplishment. The Certificate of Education/Accomplishment is a useful means of recognizing achievement for students who plan to take certain vocational programs or other kinds of further training, or who plan to find employment directly after leaving school.

Students who return to school to complete additional credit and non-credit courses (including courses with modified or alternative expectations in special education programs) will have their transcript updated accordingly, but will not be issued a new Certificate of Accomplishment. The Ontario Secondary School Certificate or the Ontario Secondary School Diploma may later be granted if the student meets completely the appropriate requirements.


List of Available Courses
Here are the courses which the School offers this school year:


Department/Course Code Grade Level/Course Title
English (2)
ENG3U English 11, University Preparation
Mathematics (3)
MCR3U Grade 11, Functions
MHF4U Grade 12, Advanced Functions
MCV4U Grade 12, Calculus and Vectors
Science (2)
SCH4U Grade 12, Chemistry
SPH4U Grade 12, Physics


Ontario Secondary School Literacy Requirement

All students are required to meet the secondary school literacy graduation requirement in order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The requirement is based on the expectations for reading and writing throughout the Ontario curriculum up to and including Grade 9. The purpose of the secondary school literacy graduation requirement is to determine whether students have the skills in reading and writing that they will need to succeed in school, at work, and in daily life.

To meet this requirement, students are expected to take and successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in Grade 10 in accordance with the policies. Once students have successfully completed the OSSLT, they may not retake it. Students who do not successfully complete the OSSLT will have additional opportunities to meet the literacy graduation requirement in accordance with the policies pertaining to the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

The purpose of the OSSLT is to determine whether or not students have acquired the reading and writing skills that they are expected to have learned by the end of Grade 9, as outlined in The Ontario Curriculum. The OSSLT will identify students who have demonstrated the required skills in reading and writing as well as those who have not demonstrated these skills and need to do further work. For students who have not demonstrated the required skills, the test will identify areas of weakness for remediation purposes.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OLC4O)

Students who do not pass OSSLT may take the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OLC4O). William Academy Online does not offer the OSSLC online, however, arrangements can be made for students to take this course in a face to face setting. The OSSLC is offered in accordance with The Ontario Curriculum: English – The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC), Grade 12. The credit earned for successfully completing the OSSLC may also be used to meet the Grade 11 or the Grade 12 compulsory credit requirement in English or to meet the Group 1 compulsory credit requirement for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

This course is designed to help students acquire and demonstrate the cross-curricular literacy skills that are evaluated by the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). Students who complete the course successfully will meet the provincial literacy requirement for graduation. Students will read a variety of informational, narrative, and graphic texts and will produce a variety of forms of writing, including summaries, information paragraphs, opinion pieces, and news reports. Students will also maintain and manage a portfolio containing a record of their reading experiences and samples of their writing.

Students, who have had two opportunities to take the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) and have been unsuccessful at least once, are eligible to enroll in this course to achieve both a Grade 12 credit and their literacy credential for graduation. A student may be permitted to take OSSLC before he or she has had a second opportunity to take the OSSLT, if the principal determines that it is the best educational interests of the student to do so. Students who successfully undertake or pass the OLC4O are considered to have met the literacy graduation requirement.

A mature student may enroll directly in the OSSLC without first attempting the OSSLT. A mature student must be at least eighteen years of age on or before December 31 of the school year in which he or she registers in an Ontario secondary school program; who was not enrolled as a regular day school student for a period of at least one school year immediately preceding his or her registration in a secondary school program (for mature students, a school year is a period of no less than ten consecutive months immediately preceding the student’s return to school); and who is enrolled in a secondary program for the purpose of obtaining an OSSD.


Substitutions for Compulsory Courses

In order to provide the flexibility to tailor an individual student’s program to the student’s needs and to support his or her progress through secondary school, the principal may substitute up to three compulsory credits with courses from other subject areas specified in the list of compulsory credit requirements (including Groups 1, 2 and 3) outlined in section 6.1.1 of OS.

Substitutions are made to promote and enhance student learning or to respond to special needs and interests. Each substitution is noted on the student’s Ontario Student Transcript.

The decision to substitute one course for another for a student is made only if the student’s educational interests are best served by such a substitution. If a parent requests a substitution, the principal will determine whether the substitution should be made. A principal may also initiate consideration of whether a substitution should be made. The principal will make his or her decision in consultation with the parent and appropriate school staff.

The following are limitations on substitutions for compulsory credits as mandated by the Ontario Schools document:

  • English as a second language and English literacy development courses may not be used to substitute for a compulsory credit. (They may be used, however, to meet the compulsory credit requirements for three English credits in accordance with section 6.1.1 of the OS.)
  • No more than one learning strategies course, from the guidance and career education curriculum policy document, may be used through substitution to meet a compulsory credit requirement.
  • Credits earned for cooperative education courses may not be used through substitution to meet compulsory credit requirements.
  • A locally developed compulsory credit (LDCC) course may not be used as a substitute for a compulsory credit; it may be used only to meet the compulsory credit requirement that it has been designed to meet.