Important information about the literacy test

October 27, 2016—EQAO has put out a Q&A document about the technical issues with the literacy test. It will be updated as questions are submitted.

October 24, 2016—EQAO has confirmed that the cause of the technical issues that resulted in the cancellation of the October 20 province-wide trial of the online Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) was an intentional, malicious and sustained Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack—a type of cyberattack.

Quick facts

  • The October 20 online OSSLT was a voluntary trial to test the system’s readiness before the regularly scheduled administration of the OSSLT in March 2017.
  • Discussions about the feasibility of scoring completed online OSSLT assessments are ongoing and an announcement on this will be made shortly.
  • EQAO will deliver the March 2017 OSSLT, which students will be able to take either online or on paper.
  • An independent third-party forensic firm is involved in an investigation into the October 20 incident on behalf of EQAO.
  • Data indicates that the DDoS attack began shortly before 8:00 a.m. EDT.
  • At the height of the DDoS attack, 99% of the traffic in the system was not coming from schools or school boards. This effectively blocked legitimate user access to the system.
  • No personal or private student information was compromised during the administration of the assessment.

Read the full release on the EQAO website. 


October 21, 2016—Please refer to a letter (Pdf) of explanation and apology from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) about the technical difficulties with the literacy test.


October 20, 2016—Today secondary school students throughout Ontario were to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).

This assessment was to be written online. Technical issues through the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) were experienced by many Ontario school boards.

EQAO cancelled the assessment prior to noon today.

The OSSLT is written by Grade 10 students typically in the spring. For 2016-2017, two opportunities were possible, the first being in October and the second scheduled for spring, as usual. Successful completion of the OSSLT is a graduation requirement.

EQAO cancelled the assessment prior to noon. School boards were directed to instruct students to discontinue taking the assessment.

We’re very proud of our students who demonstrated great character and perseverance in a very challenging situation.

We’ll share more information with schools, families and students when it is available from EQAO. Thank you for your understanding.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, 613-966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 2354, [email protected]

Last updated: January 16, 2018 at 1:40 pm
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