Each student is required to successfully complete a required number of mandatory credits in specific subject areas and there are provisions for students to take optional credits to follow specific educational goals or pursue individual interests. After completing all of the requirements, upon graduation students receive the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
In order to graduate from secondary school a student must successfully complete 30 credits, 18 of which are compulsory and 12 optional. In addition, students are required to successfully complete a literacy assessment and complete 40 hours of community service.
Most secondary school students complete 8 credits per year, with the exception of Grade 12 where students take a minimum of 6 credits.
The overall requirements are the same for French or English school districts withthe only exception being the number of credits one student must or may obtain in French and in English.
In English school districts, there are four compulsory English courses and one compulsory French course, plus the possibility of an extra credit in French.
In French school districrts, there are four compulsory French courses, one compulsory English course, plus the possibility of one or more credits in English. The English courses are not ESL, but core English, (i.e. the same courses taught in English school districts).
(adapted from Ontario Ministry of Education )
|Subjects||Grade 9||Grade 10||Grade 11||Grade 12||Other|
|4||Canadian Geography||Canadian History|
Students must learn the following compulsory credits to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:
Plus ONE credit from each of the following groups:
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete:
*A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.
**In Groups 1, 2, and 3, a maximum of 2 credits in French as a second language can count as compulsory credits, one from group 1 and one from either group 2 or group 3.
***A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits.
†The 12 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses. In Catholic schools, one credit per year must be completed from a list of designated religion credits.
◊ Instead of 4 English language credits, in French language public schools, students must successfully complete 4 French language credits.
The OSSLT is a graduation requirement. The assessment is generally administered to Grade 10 students every March and is based on the curriculum expectations up to the end of Grade 9. It is important to note that the OSSLT is designed as a ”minimum-competency assessment” and achievement is reported as “successful” or “unsuccessful.” There are special accommodations for English Language Learners and the test may be attempted more than once and deferred to a later year based on circumstances. A student who fails the OSSLT may opt to enrol in the OSSLC course (OLC3O or OLC4O) and upon passing this course will meet the OSSLT requirement. Schools offer many supports to assist students in being successful on the OSSLT. A detailed guide with sample assessments and an extensive FAQ section can be found at: www.eqao.com/en/assessments/OSSLT/parents/Pages/About.aspx
*Instead of successfully completing the OSSLT (English Literacy Test) or equivalent, in French language public schools, the students must successfully complete the TPCL (French Literacy Test) or equivalent.
Completion of 40 hours of community service is necessary in order to graduate with an OSSD. The aim of this requirement is to encourage students to recognize the value of community involvement, develop self-confidence, learn new skills, and explore possible career paths. Students may start to accumulate their hours at any time from the summer before the student enters Grade 9 to the end of Grade 12. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their hours as soon as possible. Many students find community service to be personally rewarding and complete far more than the minimum number of required hours.
Each school district publishes a list of activities that are acceptable and other activities that are not eligible for the 40 hours of community service. Community services hours are usually completed outside of the regular school day. For example, a student may volunteer at a community picnic event, help coach a sports team, or assist at a library, but not in a role that involves work that would be normally performed for wages, or as part of a student’s expected chores in the home. Students may accumulate their community service hours at many different organizations. Guidance Counsellors at each secondary school can assist in providing suggestions for completion of community service hours and each school has forms that are used to document completion of hours. More information is available at: www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/students/curriculum.html
Understanding Course Codes:
MAT: Each subject area has a designated 3 letter code. This example is for a Mathematics course.
2: The number refers to the year in the secondary school program. This example indicates a grade 10 course.
D: The letter at the end of each course code indicates the level. This example indicates an Academic level course.
Grades 9 & 10
In Grades 9 and 10, students may complete credits at either the Academic or Applied, including Open level credits.
Course Codes Explained:
Students may take courses at different levels (e.g., Grade 9 Math at the Applied level and Grade 9 English at the Academic level), but note that certain pre-requisites are required for some courses in later grades.
Open courses are available to all students and are not designed to lead to a specific post-secondary educational pathway, but rather aim to broaden students’ knowledge base or address particular interests. Some open courses are compulsory, such as Grade 10 Careers and Grade 10 Civics.
Grades 11 and 12
In Grades 11 and 12, students select courses based on pathways to post-secondary learning and the workplace, including Open level credits.
Students may take courses at different levels (e.g., Grade 11 Math at the College level and Grade 11 English at the University level), but note that certain pre-requisites are required for some courses and post-secondary choices may be restricted based on courses selected.
Course Codes Explained:
Listing of common course codes, prerequisites for courses, and course descriptions:
See FAQ question and response: How do I get an evaluation of elementary or secondary education documents from outside Ontario?: