Secondary Graduation Requirements

The following information has been provided to assist our Grade 7 and 8 students with preparing for their high school studies and answering questions regarding the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements.

What is a credit? - A credit is granted in recognition of the successful completion of a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours, and has been developed from a Ministry of Education curriculum guideline or has been approved by the Ministry.

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)

This diploma is granted, on the recommendation of the principal of the secondary school last attended, to a student who has accumulated a minimum of thirty credits. This includes 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits. Forty hours of community involvement and successful completion of the literacy requirement must also be achieved.

Compulsory Credits (total of 18)

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
    • The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) may be used to meet the Grade 11 or 12 English compulsory credit requirement
    • The Grade 11 Contemporary Aboriginal Voices course may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement
  • 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 (music, art, drama, or dance)
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in French as a second language
  • 1/2 credit in civics and
  • 1/2 credit in career studies


  • 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, co-operative education
  • Group 2: French as a second language, the arts, business studies, health and physical education, co-operative education
  • Group 3: French as a second language, science (Grade 11 or 12), computer studies, technological education, co-operative 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 co-operative education may count as additional compulsory credits, selected from any of Groups 1, 2, or 3.

In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete:

12 Optional Credits

In addition to the 18 compulsory credits, students have to earn 12 optional credits in courses of their choice, selected from the full list of courses available in the school. Optional credits allow students to build an educational program that suits their individual interests and meets university, college, apprenticeship or work requirements.

40 Hours of Community Involvement

Community involvement encourages civic responsibility, promotes community values, and reinforces importance of volunteering. Students must complete 40 hours before graduation.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

All students must successfully complete the literacy requirement to earn a Secondary School Graduation Diploma. For most students this requirement will be met through the administration of the Literacy Test in the spring of Grade 10.

The test is based on Ontario curriculum expectations for language and communication, particularly reading and writing, up to and including Grade 9. The test will identify areas for remediation for students who are unsuccessful in completing the test.

Students who write the test but do not succeed may retake the test and must successfully complete both the reading and writing components to pass. There is no limit to the number of times the test may be taken.


Students who are receiving Special Education programs and services that have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may receive the accommodations that are set out in the students' IEP.


Deferral of the test may occur for students who might benefit. This would include students who have been identified as exceptional and students registered in English as a second language/English Literacy Development courses who have not yet acquired the level of proficiency in English required for successfully completing the test.

The principal determines if a deferral should be granted and time period for the deferral.


Students whose IEP indicates that the student is not working towards the attainment of a Secondary School Graduation Diploma or Ontario Secondary School Diploma may, with parental consent and approval of the principal, be exempted from participating in the Literacy Test.