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General Information

    OCDSB > Programs > Secondary > Secondary School Courses

General Information for All Students

The Ontario Student Transcript (OST) will include:

  • for grade 9 and 10 courses, the students achievement with percentage grades for successfully completed courses only
  • for grade 11 and 12 courses, all courses taken or attempted, percentage grades earned and credits gained. If a student withdraws from a grade 11 or 12 course within five instructional days following the issue of the first provincial report card in a semestered or non-semestered school, the withdrawal is not recorded on the OST.

Courses are entered on the transcript using common course code designations issued by the Ministry of Education. Students and parents may access the OST by contacting the school principal or Guidance Department.


In semestered schools the school year is divided into two semesters and four terms. Students study up to four courses in the first half of the school year (Semester 1, Terms 1 and 2 September to January) and a different four courses in the second half (Semester 2, Terms 3 and 4 February to June). Reporting occurs two times per semester with a midterm report card and a final report card at the end of the semester.

In non-semestered schools the school year is continuous from September to June and is divided into three terms. Students study up to eight courses from the beginning of the school year to the end. Reporting occurs three times per school year at the end of each term (in November, April and June).

Course Cancellation and Closure

Courses may be cancelled because of insufficient enrolment and staffing considerations or closed due to class size. Should a cancellation occur, students will be notified and asked to select an alternate course or an alternate course selected on the option sheet will be substituted.

Course Changes

Requests to change a program during the academic year will be considered only for a valid reason. The school may consider a timetable change request for reasons involving:

  • a change in level of difficulty
  • a timetable error
  • summer school or night school results
  • a change in career plans
  • post-secondary education admission requirements
  • medical matters

Should a request be deemed valid the timetable will be adjusted, if possible, taking into account the master timetable and class sizes.

Assessment and Evaluation of Students

The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning. All curriculum expectations are accounted for in instruction and assessment but evaluation focuses on student achievement of the overall expectations.

In determining levels of student achievement, marks will be based on the four achievement categories and the levels of achievement described in the Ministry curriculum documents. In determining a term grade, professional judgment will be used based on the students most consistent level of achievement with special consideration to more recent evidence of overall expectations. There will be no exemptions from the final evaluation.

The procedures for evaluating student achievement vary from course to course to meet the requirements of different subjects, different levels of difficulty and different learning environments. Teachers provide students with specific, written evaluation procedures at the beginning of each course.


Examinations will be scheduled to minimize the number of students who are asked to write two exams in one day. No student will be asked to write more than two exams in one day.

District-wide Examinations

District-wide examinations are administered in the following subjects at the grade levels indicated below:

  • Mathematics: Grade 10 Academic and Grade 10 Applied
  • English: Grade 12 University and Grade 12 College

Each District-wide examination is marked according to a uniform set of criteria which is applied in all schools. Use of the set of criteria forms an essential part of the course for all students.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Process (PLAR)

The PLAR process is the formal evaluation and credit-granting process whereby students may obtain credits for prior learning. Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside secondary school. Students may have their knowledge and skills evaluated against the expectations outlined in provincial curriculum policy documents in order to earn credits towards the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Challenge for credit for courses based on provincial curriculum policy documents will be available to students only in courses actually taught in schools operated by the District. All credits granted through the PLAR process must represent the same standards of achievement as credits granted to students who have taken the course. Please check with your Student Services or Guidance Department for further information on PLARs.

Note: Mature students (at least 18 years of age and who have not attended day school for a period of at least one year) should contact Adult High School at 613-239-2707 or Continuing Education at 613-239-2620 for information regarding the PLAR process.

Mature students may:

  • undergo individual assessment for the purpose of obtaining grade 9 and 10 credits
  • present education and training credentials and/or other appropriate documentation for assessment through the equivalency process for the purpose of obtaining grade 11 and 12 credits
  • challenge for credit for grade 11 and 12 courses

Policy and Procedure for PLAR are available on the OCDSB website, under Publications, Policy P.112.CUR, Procedure PR.631.CUR.

EQAO Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics

The EQAO Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics is conducted each year. All students enrolled in grade 9 Mathematics, Applied or Academic, write the assessment in January for semestered schools and in June for semestered and non-semestered schools. The purpose is to identify strengths and areas for improvement in student learning. This assessment is not a diploma requirement.

The EQAO has established policies and guidelines for providing special provisions for students enrolled in ESL/ELD programs and accommodations for students with special needs for whom there is an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Students with special needs and ESL/ELD students may be exempt from participating in the assessment where it is determined that accommodations or special provisions still would not enable the students to provide evidence of learning.

Code of Student Behaviour and Safe Schools Policy

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board believes that school is a place that promotes responsibility, respect, civility and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment. Codes of conduct of individual schools are based on the Code of Conduct for Ontario Schools published by the Ministry of Education. To view this document or any other publication for the Ministry of Education, visit the Ministry website at To access the OCDSB Safe Schools Policy, visit the District website at

A Community of Character

The fundamental building blocks to a safe and caring school community are the relationships and partnerships between educators, staff, parents, students and the community. It is through these relationships and partnerships that all individuals in the school community have the opportunity to practise and model to one another the character attributes that are at the foundation of our board operations. The attributes in our Community of Character provide a standard of behaviour against which all individuals in our District hold themselves accountable. By practicing acceptance, appreciation, cooperation, empathy, fairness, integrity, optimism, perseverance, respect, and responsibility, we are confident that these attributes are what will bind us together and permeate all that we do. We believe they are the foundation for excellence and equity in education and are the cornerstone of our vision for our school communities.

Expectations of Students and Student Attendance

Regular attendance is essential to the learning process. When student learning is disrupted by irregular attendance, both the student and the class lose experiences that cannot be entirely replaced. Moreover, if the student habitually misses classes, he or she suffers in the evaluation process because student achievement cannot be evaluated. Attendance is, therefore, an essential component of every course.

Designated Schools, Student Transfers, and Transportation of Students

Information regarding designated schools and student transfer policy is available on the District website at or by contacting your school.

Parents and students must be aware of the importance of providing complete and accurate information through the registration process. Should a student be discovered to be attending a school other than the designated school by virtue of false information having been provided to the OCDSB on the students behalf, the student shall be required to move to the designated school at the earliest possible time that will not unduly jeopardize the completion of courses already begun.

Transfers may affect a students eligibility to participate in a specific sport. Consult with the schools athletic director for information about the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA)eligibility policy for sports when you are planning to change schools.

Student Services: Guidance and Counselling

Guidance and counselling services in secondary schools serve students by providing them with counselling and support in educational choices, career goals and personal concerns. In addition, Student Services acts in a consultative and supportive role to parents and staff.

Educational Counselling

We support students in the following areas:

  • appropriate high school course choices and resolution of timetable problems
  • difficulties in learning, studying or time management
  • educational plans appropriate to abilities, interests and goals
  • college or university contacts and the post-secondary application process
  • financial assistance for post-secondary education through
  • Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), scholarships, etc.

Career Counselling

We support students in the following areas:

  • explore potential career options
  • determine suitability for various vocations using a variety of resources
  • find sources of information on careers (internet and text based)
  • use programs such as Co-op and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) to further their first-hand knowledge of the world of work
  • assist in locating part/full-time or summer work
  • additional learning opportunities after high school

Personal Counselling

We support students in the following areas:

  • discuss the student and their relationships to others
  • deal with any personal concerns and explore alternatives and/or solutions
  • offer community resources where needed
  • coordinate referrals to OCDSB Support Personnel (i.e., school social worker)

Library Services

In our secondary schools the library facility and teacher-librarian provide many resources and educational services for both students and staff. There are three key objectives of the library program:

  • to teach students to become enthusiastic, skillful and independent learners
  • to work closely with teachers to plan teaching strategies that meet the curriculum expectations for research skills and information literacy outlined in Ministry documents. Some
  • of the teaching strategies include lessons on the research process, evaluating and using electronic resources, and documenting sources
  • to encourage literacy and love of reading

While each of our secondary school libraries is unique, they have in common the following resources:

  • Alexandria, an online library catalogue of the schools resources
  • Collections of fiction designed for novel study, leisure reading and second language students
  • Computer workstations with Internet access
  • Access to online databases
  • Collections of non-fiction and reference materials designed to support the curriculum and research needs of both students and staff
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Access to printers and photocopiers

All our secondary school libraries provide welcoming and inviting environments in which students can read, work, research and study.