British Columbia and Ontario are two provinces that couldn’t be more different. Known for its spectacular coastline, mountain scenery, and laid back lifestyle, BC is a place that is quintessentially West Coast and a place millions of Canadians call home or visit every year. People enjoy a lifestyle inextricably linked to outdoor life, from hiking to skiing and mountain biking. There is something for everyone, whether it is the long, serene lakes of the Okanagan or the glass skyline of bustling Vancouver.

Ontario, on the other hand, is far better known for its bustling cities, tranquil rural and cottage scenery, and multicultural populations. Whether you prefer the ambitious, hurried lifestyle of Toronto, the buttoned down political vibes of Ottawa or the rolling farmland of Southwestern Ontario you will find variety at every turn. Ontarians have easy access to one of the most major urban centres in North America and are a stone’s throw from the simplicity of cottage life in Muskoka, the Kawarthas or Prince Edward County, so choice is a top benefit to living here.

osslt
Teens in Ontario will talk about the OSSLT in grade 10. Source: Pexels.
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What is Education Like in British Columbia and Ontario?

Both Canadian provinces, while deeply divergent in terms of culture and overall vibes, are both great places to grow up and receive a world-class education, from kindergarten to graduate studies. With strong public school systems, Secondary students in both BC and Ontario are rigorously tested to ensure that they are ready for the working world and have the literacy and numeracy skills it takes to pursue pathways in college and university.

As useful as provincial testing can be for each province’s ministry of education to understand and check the skills of students and schools, it can be a source of stress for high schoolers. Ontarians and British Columbians must pass their respective tests to graduate high school, so students often find themselves worried and anxious until they receive their passing scores so they can start thinking about the amazing postsecondary options they have access to.

Students in British Columbia can choose postsecondary pathways in numerous high quality universities and colleges, such as the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser, Douglas College, BCIT, Dawson College, and the University of Victoria. In any school, students will be educated by top professionals and academics while getting an opportunity to enjoy all the amazing things about BC life. The University of British Columbia, for example, is nestled on the outskirts of Vancouver in a gorgeous outdoor setting surrounded by coastline. Studying in BC is one of the most popular pursuits for Canadian high school graduates!

Postsecondary students in Ontario, like BC, also have access to some of the best institutions in the world, like the University of Ontario, Ryerson, Humber, Sheridan, Nipissing, Western, Queens, Guelph, and the University of Ottawa - just to name a handful. Each school offers its own unique connection and reference to the cities and communities they are in. The University of Toronto, for example, is integrated beautifully in Toronto’s downtown core, where students can enjoy the contrast between Gothic architecture and urban towers, and walk past a rowdy university pub and a chic international restaurant on the same block. 

But enough about college and university - let’s get back to the topic you were likely looking up if you stumbled upon this article: grade 10 provincial testing. What is provincial testing actually like, anyway? Why do grade 10 students in BC and Ontario take them? And how do you even prepare for these tests? 

This article will answer all of these questions and more!

Get all the details and information you need to be prepared for the BC Grade 10 literacy test.

what is osslt
Students in both Ontario and British Columbia write literacy tests. Source: Pexels.

Why is Grade 10 Literacy Test Practice so Important in Canada?

Grade 10 may seem like an odd time to get tested for literacy. Shouldn’t students already have the reading and writing skills they require by that age? In reality, it is actually one of the best times to be assessed, as grade 10 leads into two of the most critical senior years of your formal education. The skills you build during this period ultimately prepare and transition you to either compete in the working world or continue study at the post-secondary level.

Every age of schooling has its priorities and purposes. When you start Kindergarten and move into the primary grades, your teachers are building your foundation of skills while also providing you with meaningful opportunities to learn social skills and teamwork. As you enter the junior grades, you will be building upon that foundation with more complex numeracy and literacy learning, delving more deeply into the social and natural sciences. The intermediate grades are all about preparing you for high school pathways, ensuring that you are advancing your learning while also being treated more like a young adult. 

Grade 10, the final year of the intermediate grades and the second year of high school, is a critical point as it typically marks the transition between adolescence and young adulthood. It is the best time to ensure that your learning up to that point has accumulated to a level where you can handle a greater degree of independence in your learning and more intense research projects and learning. For students that plan to work or take an apprenticeship after graduation, it is an ideal time to check if you have the foundation of math and language skills to use in the working world, so your teachers can understand what you need to work on personally to enhance your skills in grades 11 and 12.

Learn some of the best strategies and tips you can use to pass the BC Literacy Test with flying colours.

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What is OSSLT and How is it Different from the BC Literacy Test?

The OSSLT, or Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, is a reading and writing assessment all students must take in grade 10. It is based on the Ontario curriculum up to the end of grade 9, and is administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office, which is funded and organized by the province’s Ministry of Education. The OSSLT takes 2 days to write, and assesses the literacy skills you should have acquired in learning across a variety of subjects. You must pass the test in order to complete your Ontario Secondary School Diploma, or OSSD. If you do not pass the test, you can take it again, and special English courses exist for students that have a hard time with the OSSLT.

Similarly, the BC Graduation Literacy Assessment, or GLA, is a reading and writing assessment that all BC students take in grade 10. It was introduced as part of the BC new curriculum in 2016, and assesses the skills students learn throughout school in BC. The test is intended to check your skills as a communicator and reader, and takes place over 2 sittings. As in Ontario, BC students must pass this test to graduate.

Both tests will present students with a variety of texts such as news articles, stories, and other media texts to interpret and extract information from. They both contain extensive writing components that require students to formulate a response in a single draft. Multiple select questions are also used in the tests. You can find plenty of practice tests and questions online by visiting the websites of the organizations that administer the test in either province, the EQAO in Ontario and the BC Ministry of Education.

While both tests are graduation requirements, it's important to note that your score will not be published on your transcript and that universities and colleges do not consider your provincial tests scores during the admissions process.

There are so many benefits to hiring an English tutor to prepare you for the literacy test and other high school exams. 

online literacy practice
Get online literacy practice for your literacy test. Source: Pixabay

Why are OSSLT and EQAO Only in Ontario?

The OSSLT and EQAO are only in Ontario because each province has its own Ministry of Education and curriculum. Ministers of Education are appointed by the elected Premier of every province, and the policies and priorities of each government will impact education funding and curricular initiatives. While you will find many provincial curricula across Canada similar, they are ultimately developed regionally and will have differences from one another. Each province will even have its own teacher licensing, meaning that educators will have to acquire province-specific teaching licenses.

Because of the differences in curriculum and governing bodies, each province will have its own test. BC’s test is based on its local curriculum, and at least currently only provides provincial assessments for high school students. 

How do you Prepare for Provincial Testing?

Preparing for provincial literacy testing in whatever province you reside in will require commitment and discipline. Here are some of our top tips for preparing for your literacy test.

Get to Know Your Province’s Test

Whether you live in Ontario or BC, you will find plenty of test practice materials you can use to get accustomed to the test format. Because Ontario’s OSSLT has been around for a lot longer, you will easily find previously used tests online and even practice books you can purchase. Those taking BC’s test can look at the Ministry of Education’s website or their public school board to find links to samples. 

There are a lot of advantages to previewing the test before you take it. First of all, you’ll see exactly how questions are designed and phrased so you will know exactly what to expect. Secondly, you can use previous years' tests to actually practice how you might answer questions when your own test date comes. You’ll feel more confident going in, and have less anxiety before the test begins because you’ll know what’s coming.

Read Regularly

Reading frequently will help you prepare for any literacy test because you will exercise your ability to interpret information and make connections to your own experiences and other texts and media you have read. When you read, actively think about what the text reminds you of, and what connections you can make with it. Question the author’s message, and take the time to be critical of their ideas, re-reading as needed. Finally, read a variety of texts. The literacy test will definitely use different types of readings, from fiction to blogs and newspapers, so the more variety you read the more practice and understanding you will develop in each genre.

Find out everything you need to know about writing the grade 10 literacy test in BC this year.

Hire a Tutor from Superprof

Of course, we recommend hiring a tutor to help you practice for your test so you can pass it the first time or ensure you won’t have to take it again. Superprof is the best site to find a tutor for literacy test preparation as it brings together the best tutors in your province.

A Superprof tutor can review and practice the literacy skills you will need to do well on the test. They can identify your areas of need, provide descriptive feedback that will help you to improve your responses and writing, and hold you accountable to putting in the practice time and improving your work.

Superprof has an amazingly simple and easy-to-use site you can use to easily browse different tutors, compare their strengths and backgrounds, and get a good sense of what kind of rates you will have to pay so you and your family can budget accordingly. You can choose from a variety of tutors, message them individually through the app so you don’t have to provide your own email address, and pay them using the site’s payment function. Superprof makes it easy to get the academic help you need!

Check out Superprof today and find the best tutor for the BC literacy test!

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Colleen

Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.