Permitted accommodations for the OSSLT

Students with special education needs or special considerations outlined in this user guide are eligible for accommodations. These accommodations should be listed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) where applicable and used for regular classroom activities, including all forms of assessment. School administrators must indicate applicable special considerations in the Accommodations tab in the e-assessment system.

Permitted Accommodations for the OSSLT
Permitted for ALL students Available for students with IEPs or special considerations
Presentation format Responding format
  • Prompts to return attention back to the task
  • Quiet setting
  • Use of headphones
  • Preferential seating
  • Supervised breaks
  • Alternative setting
  • Additional time
  • Flexible scheduling by the school within a 6- week assessment window
  • Use of built-in text to speech in the E-assessment system
  • Built-in accessibility tools and features in the e-assessment system (zoom, text to speech, high contrast, etc.)
  • Alternative Version formats (single-selection, open response type questions only)*:
    • Braille
    • e-Braille
    • Printable PDF large-print
    • Printable PDF regular-print
    • Online
  • Interpreter/sign language
  • Audio (MP3 file may be used with Braille or PDF formats)
  • Assistive Technology such as Google Read and Write, Kurzweil, NVDA, VoiceOver, Read Aloud, JAWS, Natural Reader and others
  • Assistive technology (voice to text)
  • Verbatim scribing (all student responses must be recorded in the e-assessment system)
* Assessment content for all formats of the Alternative Version is identical.

Role of the school administrator

The school administrator is responsible for

  • adhering to the Professional Responsibilities
  • making decisions about student participation (i.e., participating, deferred, or exempted)
  • ensuring that all required accommodations are provided
  • documenting the relevant information in the e-assessment platform according to the instructions in this user guide 
  • sending an information letter to parents or guardians outlining approved accommodations

Decisions about accommodations must be made

  • based on the student’s IEP or special considerations
  • in accordance with EQAO’s User Guides for the administration of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)
  • consistent with regular classroom practice, including assessments
  • prior to the test
  • for each student individually
  • in consultation with the student and parents or the guardian or the mature student, and with the appropriate teaching staff

Completing the Accommodations section

Step 1 – Navigate to the Accommodations tab

  • Log in to your account.
  • Select a student. 
  • In the Student Record window, select the Accommodations tab. 

Step 2 – Review all fields and select or revise the accommodations as needed

1. Individual Education Plan (IEP) Status:

Select This student has an IEP (if applicable).

2. Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) Exceptionality:

The student has special education needs and has been identified by an IPRC as having the following exceptionality (check one only):

  • Behavioural exceptionality 
  • Autism 
  • Deaf and hard of hearing 
  • Language impairment 
  • Speech impairment 
  • Learning disability 
  • Giftedness 
  • Mild intellectual disability 
  • Developmental disability 
  • Physical disability 
  • Blind and low vision 
  • Multiple exceptionalities 
  • No (IPRC)

3. Special Considerations

Permitted accommodations can be provided to students who are unable to participate in the assessment without these accommodations, due to these special considerations: 

  • Additional Accommodations: This student’s accommodations are not described in their IEP, but they have been approved by the appropriate supervisory officer. 
  • Temporary or Unique Circumstance: This student has no IEP and has received the principal’s permission for accommodations due to temporary or unique circumstances. 
  • New to School: This student recently arrived from another school and has no IEP but has received the appropriate supervisory officer’s permission for accommodations. 

4. Permitted Accommodations 

Select the needed accommodation(s): 

  • Braille format: If Braille is required, school administrators must proceed to the Alternative Version Request tab to provide specific ordering information: 
    • Contracted 
    • Uncontracted 
    • No 
  • Other Formats of the Alternative Version: The school administrator must request the appropriate format(s) using the Alternative Version Request tab
  • Extended periodic supervised breaks 
  • Sign language or an oral interpreter 
  • Verbatim scribing of responses (refer to the Guidelines for Scribes section
  • Other accommodations not listed in the user guide: send an e-mail to info@eqao.comdetailing your request for written approval from EQAO

5. Assistive Technology 

All students writing the OSSLT have access to built-in accessibility tools such as a text-to-speech reader and a text zoom tool. 

Additional assistive technology software is available to students with special education needs or a special consideration.

Schools are encouraged to use the chosen assistive technology during the online practice test to ensure the technology functions appropriately for the student in advance of the test. 

The following is a list of additional assistive technology that is supported by the e-assessment platform and must be selected in the e-assessment system by the school administrator: 

  • the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension 
  • Other Assistive Technology: 
    • Kurzweil: The downloadable version 
    • Kurzweil: The extensions for Firefox and Chrome
    • NVDA
    • VoiceOver
    • Read Aloud
    • Job Action with Speech (JAWS)
    • ChromeVox
    • Natural Reader
    • Others (please specify)

If a student requires one or more of these assistive technologies, or an assistive technology that is not listed here, please contact your school board IT representative. Refer to Configuring devices for public schools(orConfiguring devices for private schools) for details.

Variations in the pronunciation or inflection of words and phrases may occur due to the variety of software, speech engines and computer systems. Revisions may be made by the school to rectify such variations, providing that no change is made to any content. 

Step 3 – Request the Alternative Version 

The alternative version of the assessment is available in multiple formats for students with special education needs or a special consideration. The alternative version of the OSSLT contains single-select and open response questions only.

If a student requires the alternative version of the test because their accommodations noted on their IEP or special consideration prevents them from accessing the online test, it must be requested by the school administrator in the e-assessment system under the Alternative Version Request tab.

EQAO requires between five and seven business days to process a request for Braille, and three business days to process a request for all other formats.  

Highlights of the OSSLT and Alternative Version (all formats)

How to access the OSSLT and Alternative Version formats (approved requests)
Login to the E-assessment system OSSLT E-assessment
OSSLT Alternative Version Formats:
  • Online format of Alternative Version
Compressed folder sent through Message Centre OSSLT Alternative Version Formats:
  • Printable PDF Regular print
  • Printable PDF Large print
  • e-Braille (requires specialized equipment)
Sent by courier to the school OSSLT Alternative Version Formats:
  • Braille
Test question type
Multi-selection questions
(i.e., Drag and drop, Checklists, Double-drop down menu)
Contained in:
OSSLT E-assessment only
Single Selection Questions
Open Response Questions
Contained in:
OSSLT E-assessment
OSSLT Alternative Version Formats:
  • Printable PDF Regular print
  • Printable PDF Large print
  • Online format of Alternative Version
  • Braille
  • e-Braille
Available accessibility tools and features
Built-in accessibility tools (i.e. Zoom tool, text-to-speech, high contrast) OSSLT E-assessment
OSSLT Alternative Version Formats:
  • Online format of Alternative Version
Compatible with assistive technology software (e.g., Google Read & Write, JAWS)

Refer to Configuring devices and preparing for accessibility and accommodation software. (links)
Contained in:
OSSLT E-assessment
OSSLT Alternative Version Formats:
  • Printable PDF Regular print
  • Printable PDF Large print
  • Online format of Alternative Version
Large font size OSSLT E-assessment (using built-in Zoom tool)
OSSLT Alternative Version Formats:
  • Printable PDF Large print (18 pt font)
  • Online (using built-in Zoom tool)
Built-in audio (speech-to-text) OSSLT E-assessment
OSSLT Alternative Version Format:
  • Online format of Alternative Version
MP3 separate audio files May be requested with these alternative version formats:
  • Printable PDF Regular Print
  • Printable PDF Large print
  • Braille
  • e-Braille
All formats of the alternative version must be requested through the e-assessment system. All student responses, regardless of format, must be entered into the E-assessment system.

Using Read&Write for Google Chrome

The OSSLT includes various question formats (drag and drop, drop-down menu, checklist, selected response). As these questions are more interactive than those in a standard document or on a webpage, students will need to use the Read&Write Hover Speech tool to access them.

The e-assessment platform has a built-in text-to-speech tool that is designed to work with the assessment platform.

Below are some videos that demonstrate how to use this assistive technology with the e-assessment platform:

Using JAWS

JAWS is supported by the e-assessment platform.

Below are some videos that demonstrate how to use this assistive technology with the e-assessment platform:

Guidelines for scribes

Students are permitted to work with a scribe if they have this accommodation listed in their IEP or have an approved special consideration.

Scribes must be adults and must not be relatives of the students they are assisting.

School administrators are responsible for reviewing the guidelines with individuals who will be acting as scribes.

Scribes must follow the guidelines below:

  • work only with students who have been identified as receiving a scribing accommodation
  • record the student’s responses by transcribing exactly what the student dictates into the e-assessment platform
  • transcribe the student’s open responses if they used the printable PDF and cannot input their own responses
  • input answers to the selected-response questions into the e-assessment platform as directed by the student
  • assume each sentence begins with a capital and ends with a period
  • read the dictation back to the student if requested
  • show the student the transcription after the student has finished responding to a question and ask if any corrections are necessary
  • make corrections according to the student’s directions

The scribe can enter the student’s dictation after an active session, if needed. The teacher will log in to the student account for the transcription.

Scribes must not:

  • review the test prior to administration
  • clarify, explain or translate any part of the test
  • edit or alter the student’s dictation in any way, unless directed by the student
  • correct the student’s responses, unless directed by the student
  • prompt in order to draw the student’s attention to a specific part of the test 
  • initiate the use of test-taking strategies
  • show any reaction to the student’s responses
  • engage in incidental conversation with the student or others

Transcribing student responses into the E-Assessment platform

All student responses must be entered directly into the e-assessment platform, regardless of which format is used, by either the student, the teacher or by the scribe.

If a scribe is unable to enter the student’s dictation directly into the e-assessment platform during the active assessment session, answers must be entered into the online format after the student has completed the assessment session. The student’s teacher can login to the platform using the student’s login information in order to transcribe exactly what the student has identified as their response.

All printed and electronic copies of the assessment must be kept secure and must be accounted for at all times.

After the Individual Student Reports are made available to the school administrator, all the printed and electronic copies of the assessment must be shredded and/or deleted.

Updated on October 10, 2023