Understanding Courses and Codes


Courses are available in many subject areas in secondary school. Within a subject area, students can further specialize their course studies depending on their interests.


A credit is granted when a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours issuccessfully completed. 'Scheduled time' is defined as the time during which studentsparticipate in planned learning activities designed to lead to the achievement of thecurriculum expectations of the course. Planned learning activities include interaction betweenthe teacher and student as well as assigned individual and/or group work, excludinghomework. Half or partial credits may be offered for some courses and the amount ofclassroom instruction will relate accordingly (e.g., a half credit equals 55 hours).


Prerequisite courses are courses which contain prior knowledge in a specific subject area which must be obtained before entering courses at a later grade level.

Types of Courses — Grades 9 and 10

Grade 9 and 10 courses are organized into three types: Academic, Applied and Open. All courses build on the grade 8 curriculumand have rigorous standards. All courses prepare students for study in the senior grades.

Academic and Applied courses differ in the balance between essential concepts and additional requirements and in the balance between theory and application. They differ primarily, not in the level of skill required, but in the kinds of problems presented andthe application of the content and concepts.

Academic Courses

Courses with a D in the fifth position focus on the essential concepts of the discipline and also explore related concepts. Coursework develops students' knowledge and skills by emphasizing theoretical and abstract applications of the essential concepts andincorporating practical applications as appropriate. The emphasis is on theory and abstract thinking as a basis for further learningand problem solving.

Applied Courses

Courses with a P in the fifth position focus on the essential concepts of the discipline. Course work develops students' knowledgeand skills by emphasizing practical, concrete application of these concepts and incorporating theoretical applications asappropriate. Course work relates to familiar real-life situations and provides students with the opportunity for extensive hands-onapplications of the concepts they study.

Open Courses

Courses with an O in the fifth position have one set of expectations for the subject, appropriate for all students in a given grade.These courses are designed to provide students with a broad educational base that will prepare them for their studies in grades 11and 12 and for productive participation in society.

Locally Developed Courses

Courses with a L in the fifth position have been developed to meet students' educational needs not met by the existing provincialcurriculum. Three courses are available in grade 9: one in English, one in Mathematics and one in Science. Each of these may becounted as a compulsory credit in that discipline. Additional locally developed courses may be approved for OCDSB schools in thefuture.

Types of Courses — Grades 11 and 12

Grade 11 and 12 courses are organized into five types based on students' future destinations. Students may choose fromUniversity Preparation, University/College Preparation, College Preparation, Workplace Preparation or Open courses.

University Preparation Courses

Courses with a U in the fifth position provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet entrance requirements foruniversity programs. Teaching and learning will emphasize theoretical aspects of the course content with supporting applications.The courses will focus on the development of both independent research skills and independent learning skills.

University/College Preparation Courses

Courses with a M in the fifth position include content that is relevant for both university and college. They provide students with theknowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for specific university and college programs. The range ofcourses offered and their content will allow students to prepare for college and university programs and related careers. Teachingand learning will emphasize both theoretical aspects and related concrete applications of the course content.

College Preparation Courses

Courses with a C in the fifth position provide students with the knowledge and skills to meet entrance requirements for mostcollege programs and related careers. Teaching and learning will emphasize concrete applications of the theoretical materialcovered in the course and the development of critical thinking and problem- solving skills. Courses will focus on the development ofindependent research and learning skills.

Workplace Preparation Courses

Courses with an E in the fifth position prepare students to move directly into the workplace or to apprenticeship programs and othertraining programs in the community. These courses emphasize practical workplace skills.

Open Courses

Courses with an O in the fifth position allow students to broaden their knowledge and skills in a particular subject that may or maynot be directly related to their post-secondary goals but that reflects their interests. These courses are appropriate for all studentsregardless of post-secondary destination.

Focus Courses

Within the curriculum there are many opportunities to meet program expectations through a variety of secondary school courses. This is particularly true in the Arts, Health and Physical Education, International Languages and Technological Education. For example, in Dramatic Arts students can select a course with a single focus, such as:

  • ADD Dramatic Arts — Production
  • ADC Drama in the Community
  • ADV Dramatic Arts — Film/Video

Focus courses are school specific. For descriptions of the focus courses offered at your school, contact the school's Student Services or Guidance Department.

Procedures for Students Who Wish to Change Course Types (Crossover Materials)

When a student plans to switch from one course type in grade 9 to the other in grade 10 in the same subject, the student will be strongly encouraged to successfully complete additional course work of up to 30 hours as defined by the Ministry in order to demonstrate achievement of the learning expectations that are included in the one grade 9 course but not the other. Crossover course material is available from your school or on the website www.ilc.org/school/courses/course_info_crossover.php, or search for 'crossover materials.'

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