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Graduation Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)

The Ontario System requires students to earn at least 30 credits to receive the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. A credit is the successful completion of a course for which a minimum of 110 hours has been scheduled. The 30 credits must be distributed as follows:

Compulsory Credits [Total of 18]

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
  • 3 credits in mathematics (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
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in French as a second language
  • 0.5 credit in career studies
  • 0.5 credit in civics
  • GROUP 1: 1 additional credit in English, or French as a second language**, or a Native language, or a classical or an international language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education***
  • GROUP 2: 1 additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or French as a second language**, or cooperative education***
  • GROUP 3: 1 additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12), or technological education, or French as a second language**, or computer studies, or cooperative education***

** 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.

Elective Credits [Total 12]

  • 12 credits selected from available courses


Under special circumstances and with the approval of the principal, substitutions may be made for up to 3 of the compulsory credits using courses from the remaining courses offered that meet the requirements for compulsory credits.

Students who wish to attend an Ontario University must take appropriate courses in their senior years. Students must check the university admission requirements for the program they wish to enter.

STUDENTS MUST ALSO COMPLETE 40 HOURS COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND PASS THE ONTARIO SECONDARY SCHOOL LITERACY TEST SET BY THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.

Community Involvement Activities

As part of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements, a student must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities. These may take place in a variety of settings, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, public sector institutions, and informal settings.

Students may not fulfill the requirements through paid work, co-op education, or by assuming duties normally performed by a paid employee. The activities must take place after school, on weekends, or on school holidays.

Students must seek permission from the guidance office to do a particular activity before commencing the activity. For further information on the recording of such activities, please speak with our coordinator in the guidance office.

Please note that students may start accumulating community hours in the summer prior to starting grade 9.

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

As part of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements, students must pass the provincial secondary school literacy test, usually taken in Grade 10. The test is based on the Ontario Curriculum expectations for language and communication, particularly reading and writing, up to and including Grade 9.

Test results identify students who have not demonstrated the required skills, and show areas where they need remediation after school hours. Students who are not successful in the first attempt will write the test again with the next group.

Students who have had two opportunities to write the OSSLT, and have failed at least once, will be allowed to take the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course as a means of acquiring the literacy requirement to graduate. A score of 50% is needed to pass.

Ontario Secondary School Certificate

A student who leaves school before earning the Ontario Secondary School Diploma may receive the Ontario Secondary School Certificate, on request, if he/she has earned at least 14 credits distributed as follows:

  • 2 credits in English
  • 1 credit in mathematics
  • 1 credit in science
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography or Canadian history
  • 1 credit in physical and health education
  • 1 credit in the arts or technological education
  • 7 elective credits


Understanding Course Codes

Metro Prep's courses are labeled according to the Ontario Ministry of Education's coding system.

The code consists of five characters (e.g. ENG1D):

  • The first three characters represent the discipline, the subject, and the course.
  • The fourth character represents the grade:

    • 1, 2, 3, 4

        • 1: Grade 9
        • 2: Grade 10
        • 3: Grade 11
        • 4: Grade 12

    • or A, B, C, D, E

        • A: Level 1
        • B: Level 2
        • C: Level 3
        • D: Level 4
        • E: Level 5

Letters represent proficiency in a language course (e.g. Spanish).

  • The last character represents the course type. Courses at Metro Prep use D, C, M, U or O:

    • D: ACADEMIC

        • A Grade 9 or 10 academic course (drawing on theory, abstract examples and problems) for students planning on future post-secondary education.

    • C: COLLEGE

        • A senior course preparing the student for college.

    • M: UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE

        • A senior course in preparation for university or college.

    • U: UNIVERSITY

        • A senior course preparing the student for university.

    • O: OPEN

        • A course open to all levels.


Selecting Courses

Each semester, most students sign up for four or five full-credit courses. A maximum of ten credits per year are permitted. Course selection should reflect abilities and interests, but must also relate to the student’s immediate and long-term goals.

We provide guidance to all students and can make course recommendations, but the ultimate choice is the responsibility of the student and his/her parents. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • All courses are open to qualified students regardless of age, sex or ethnic background.
  • Certain courses are compulsory (see Diploma Requirements).
  • Students are encouraged to take more than the thirty required courses.
  • Choosing courses from a broad variety of disciplines allows more educational and occupational options in the future.
  • Studying a foreign language can provide increased job opportunities later.
  • Universities and colleges often specify essential courses. For example, many university programs require one or two Grade 12 mathematics credits. Carefully check admission requirements.
  • All Grade 11 and 12 results are disclosed on student transcripts, so quality is better than quantity at the senior level.

If you have questions or concerns about academic requirements please speak to one of our guidance counsellors. It’s your future, so take the time and make the effort to plan it well!

Additional Considerations

Post-Secondary Scholarships

Universities are looking for exceptional individuals. Many programs are seeking students who have already gained exposure to the area of study.

Students hoping to receive entrance scholarships should aim for excellent grades (90%+), but we also recommend they take advantage of other school and community opportunities to gain experiences.

Choose summer and weekend employment with future plans in mind, and don’t forget that volunteering for quality organizations can be a smart option.

For further information, please visit the guidance office or click into the Guidance Site.

Procedures For Students Who Wish To Change Course Type

Students who are successful in any academic or applied Grade 9 course will have the opportunity to enter academic courses in the same subject in Grade 10 (exception: must have academic level Math 9 to enroll in academic level Math 10).

Grade 10 academic and applied courses will prepare students for specific Grade 11 courses. A student enrolled in a Grade 10 or 11 course that does not meet the prerequisite for a specific destination-related Grade 11 or 12 course may take a course of another type (eg. academic) that will satisfy the prerequisite for a course in a higher grade (eg. a university preparation course).

Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition

Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that Ontario students have acquired outside secondary school.

A student's prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a course developed from a provincial curriculum policy document. Assessment instruments for this process include a formal test (worth 70% of the final mark) and a variety of other assessment strategies, such as written assignments, laboratory work, and observation of performance (worth 30% of the final mark).

Students may challenge for credit only for Grade 10, 11 and 12 courses. For students who are under the age of 18, or who are 18 or older but have not left high school for a year or more, a maximum of four credits may be granted through the challenge process, with no more than two in one subject area.

Transcripts & Full Disclosure

The Ontario Student Transcript

Every student at the secondary school level has a transcript in his/her OSR (Ontario School Record) file. The transcript shows the name of the course taken, the grade and type, the mark achieved, the date the course was completed, and the credit value. It also indicates whether the course was compulsory.

Please note there is full disclosure on the transcript for all grade 11 and 12 results. Check Important Dates to determine the date by which a course may be dropped without penalty.

The transcript also states if total hours of community service are completed, the results of the Literacy Test, the type of diploma issued, and the date of issue. The transcript is an effective means to communicate the student’s achievements to other educational institutions and future employers.

Parents may have access to their child’s Ontario School Records and if they wish to see its contents than they should contact the guidance counselor.

Full Disclosure

Since September 1999, the Ministry of Education has required full disclosure on student transcripts of all Grade 11 and 12 results.

Please note that if you wish to drop a Grade 11 or 12 course you must do so in writing before the announced deadlines for the 1st and 2nd semesters. After the drop dates, all marks will be placed on the transcript whether the student fails, passes or withdraws from the course.