EQAO Announces that Next OSSLT Will Be on Paper

Agency listening to feedback from education community following cyberattack

TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) has announced that the next iteration of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in March 2017 will be administered in paper format only.

Originally, the agency's intention was to deliver the March 2017 OSSLT online and provide a back-up paper version of the assessment. In October 2016, however, an online OSSLT trial was cancelled due to technical disruptions caused by a cyberattack. Because EQAO has not yet successfully completed a large-scale trial of its system, and given the considerable frustration and anxiety that resulted from the cyberattack, EQAO feels that it would be irresponsible to put students at risk of any further issues without having completed a successful large-scale online trial.

This pause will be an opportunity for EQAO to gather further comments about its online system from students, parents, teachers and educators across Ontario, and to integrate that feedback into its system design. In the interim, EQAO will continue to provide data that helps Ontario's education community improve student achievement.

Investigations into the cyberattack are ongoing and these will lead to recommendations with respect to additional system security measures.

EQAO remains committed to modernizing its assessment delivery in order to offer students the most authentic opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

Quick Facts

Consulting the Education Community

  • EQAO cannot provide a timeline for the move to online assessments, but it can confirm that the process of consulting Ontario's education community and of collecting feedback is already well underway.
  • In the days following the October 2016 OSSLT, EQAO heard from hundreds of students, parents, teachers and educators, and the agency is taking all recommendations into account.
  • Staff at EQAO are gathering feedback as they meet with schools and school boards across the province.
  • Anyone who wishes to provide suggestions on any aspect of the future online-assessment program is invited to contact EQAO directly.

Student Results from the October 2016 OSSLT

  • EQAO received sufficient information to score approximately 18,000 students who participated in the October 2016 OSSLT.
  • Scoring is now complete for the students for whom EQAO received sufficient information and EQAO is now in the process of analyzing results.
  • Results will be sent to schools in mid-January 2017.


"While we are pressing 'Pause' on EQAO's move toward online assessments, we are by no means hitting 'Stop.' In the days following the cyberattack in October, we heard from hundreds of members of Ontario's education community about the online OSSLT and we will take the time required to continue those discussions, so that we can integrate feedback into our system design. The intent is to come back with a system that better addresses needs in terms of usability, accessibility and security."
—Dr. Richard Jones, Interim CEO, EQAO

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SOURCE Education Quality and Accountability Office

For further information: Mark Ruban, Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, 416 325-2230, mark.ruban@eqao.com


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