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Diploma Requirements

What do you need to graduate?

18 compulsory credits

Students must earn the following compulsory credits to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

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

Plus one credit from each of the following groups:

1  - group 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***

1  - group 2: additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or French as a second language,** or cooperative education***

1  - group 3: additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12), or technological education, or French as a second language,** or computer studies, or cooperative education***

In addition, students must complete:

  • 12 optional credits†
  • 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • the provincial literacy requirement

*A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory
credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course. **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. †The 12 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.

Optional Credits (total of 12)

Selection of the 12 optional courses will be determined by the student’s planned career destination. Consultation with parents, classroom teachers and Guidance teachers will help students determine the best optional courses for their educational program. To ensure thorough academic preparation, students are encouraged to explore a wide variety of optional courses and may choose to stay in Secondary School beyond four years.

Graduation Requirements

Community Hours

Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement as a requirement of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. These 40 hours may be completed at any time during the student’s high school years and may take place in a variety of settings, including not-for-profit organizations, businesses, public sector institutions and informal settings. Students, in collaboration with their parents will decide how they
will complete the community involvement requirement. Students may complete any number of eligible activities as outlined in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Community Involvement pamphlet available from the school’s Guidance Department.

Activities must be completed outside of normal school instruction hours, may not be any part of a credit program and students may not receive pay for completing the involvement activities. Students will maintain a record of their activities on their Community Involvement Completion Form. The purpose of community involvement is to encourage students to develop an awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play to contribute to their communities. Examples of community involvement activities include: activities within the school such as Student Council committee work, helping an elderly neighbour, volunteering at a local hospital, helping at a community event and tutoring an elementary school student.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

The purpose of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is to ensure that students have acquired the essential reading and writing skills that apply to all subject areas in the provincial curriculum up to the end of Grade 9. All students in public and private schools who are working toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma are required to write the OSSLT in Grade 10. The test is administered at the end of March each year.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC)

Students who have been eligible to write the OSSLT at least twice and have been unsuccessful at least once are eligible to fulfill the requirement through the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC). Principals have the discretion to allow students to enroll in the course before they have a second opportunity to take the test, if the principal determines that it is in the best educational interests of the student (Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum 127). Successful completion of the OSSLT or OSSLC is a graduation requirement.

Understanding Credits

Description of a Credit

A credit is granted in recognition of successful completion of a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours for a full credit or 55 hours for a half credit. Each credit has been developed according to the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Types of Courses in grades 9 and 10

Academic Courses

Academic courses emphasize essential concepts in a subject and the theory related to these concepts. These courses are required preparation for University/College and College level courses in the senior grades.

Alternative (Non-Credit) Courses (K)

In grades 9 - 12, Alternative (Non-credit) Courses may be taken. These courses do not count towards an OSSD.

Applied Courses

Applied courses focus on developing knowledge and skills by emphasizing practical, concrete application of the concepts being taught. These courses lead to workplace and College level courses in senior grades.

Open Courses

Open courses are suitable for all students, regardless of their post secondary destination. They are offered in non compulsory subjects and contain course expectations suitable for all students at a given grade level.

Locally Developed Courses

Locally Developed courses are intended for students who require a measure of flexibility and support in order to meet some of the compulsory credit requirements. Placement may be determined through the I.P.R.C. process.

Types of Courses in grades 11 and 12

University Preparation Courses (U)

University preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for University programs.

University / College Preparation Courses (M)

University / College Preparation Courses include content that is relevant for both University and College programs. These courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they nee d to meet the entrance requirements for specific University and College programs.

College preparation Courses (C)

College Preparation Courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the requirements for College programs.

Workplace Preparation Courses (E)

Workplace Preparation Courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need for direct entry into the workplace or for admission to apprenticeship programs and other training programs offered in the community.

Open Courses (O)

In grades 11 & 12, Open Courses allow students to broaden their knowledge and skills in a particular subject that may or may not be related to their post secondary goals but that reflects their interests.

Course Code Explanations

Course Codes

The first three characters indicate the subject course code as indicated in the Ministry of Education Common Course Codes and/or The Ontario Curriculum Grades 11 and 12 Course Descriptions and Prerequisites. The fourth character indicates the year of study
1 = grade 9
2 = grade 10
3 = grade 11
4 = grade 12

Course Code Indentifies

The fifth character indicates the level of difficulty
O = Open (Grades 9 - 12)
D = Academic (Grades 9 & 10)
P = Applied (Grades 9 & 10)
L = Locally developed courses (Grades 9 or 10)
U = University destination courses (Grades 11 & 12)
C = College destination courses (Grades 11 & 12)
M = University/College destination courses (Grades 11 & 12)
E = Workplace destination courses (Grades 11 & 12)
K = Non credit bearing courses (Grades 9 - 12)

Advanced Placement courses (Grades 11 & 12) are identified by the addition of 1P


Assessment and Evaluation Policy

Assessment and evaluation are ongoing aspects of the teaching and learning process. At the beginning of each course the teacher will provide the students with a clear statement of the course content and course requirements, an explanation of evaluation methods and a marks breakdown, along with a description of the policy for tests and assignments. Students are expected to be active participants in their own learning by
assuming responsibility for keeping work up to date and by regular communication with teachers and parents.

The final examination or the culminating activity, is an important part of every course. A student must provide a medical certificate for an absence from the final evaluation unless prior arrangements have been made and approved by the school administration.

Reporting Procedures

There are three reports sent to parents each semester. An Early Bird Report is sent after the first six weeks of each new semester. A Midterm Report is sent midway through the semester and the Final Report is sent following the conclusion of the semester.

In addition, an in-danger report is sent to the parents of those students who are at risk of failing a credit. This report is sent approximately five weeks before the conclusion of the semester.

Parents are invited to a Parents’ Night each semester after the Early Bird Report. As well, regular communication with parents is encouraged by the school.

The Ontario Student Transcript (OST) provides a comprehensive record of a student’s overall achievement in high school. The credits which a student has earned towards fulfilment of the requirements for the graduation diploma are recorded on the OST.

The Ontario School Record (OSR) is the official record for a student. This file contains achievement records, credits earned and diploma requirements completed. These records are protected by the Education Act and freedom of information legislation. OSR Records are kept in the Guidance Office.

Policies on Substitutions for Compulsory Course

Courses may be substituted at the discretion of the principal in order to meet the needs of individual students. The total number of credits required for a diploma remains at 30.

PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition)

For Ontario Secondary School Diploma Students Completing OSS Program and Diploma Requirements.

Students may earn credits for knowledge and skills acquired outside school through a challenge or equivalency assessment. A maximum of four credits may be obtained in this way, with no more than 2 in one subject area. To challenge a credit, students must successfully complete formal tests and a variety of other assessment strategies appropriate to the particular course, including written assignments and observation of student
performance and laboratory work (if applicable). Students who are eligible for equivalency credits are those who transfer to Ontario Secondary Schools from non-inspected private schools or schools outside Ontario. The opportunity to challenge for a credit begins one year after implementation of the new curriculum at each grade.

Academic Honesty, Late and Missed Assignments

Information concerning academic honesty, late and missed assignments will be shared with students at the beginning of all courses, on all course outlines.