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Frequently Asked Questions

Q What is Plagiarism?

Q I am currently in Grade 11 in my country. Can I come to Ottawa and do one year of Grade 12 then go to university?

Q I require certain specific courses for my return to my country. Can you guarantee that I will have those courses in my schedule?

Q My level of English is very advanced in my country. I do not think that I will need ESL. Can I go directly into a regular English programme?

Q Will I need to take a TOEFL test in order to be admitted to university?

Q I want my child to attend one of the best schools. Can you give me the name of an excellent high school in Ottawa?

Q Are there provincial exams that students must write in order to graduate?

Q How many credits can be transferred from a China high school?

Q How many credits does a student need to graduate from high school in Ontario?

Q What is the progression of English courses a student must take in order to graduate from the Ontario school system?

Q Can students earn English credits at summer school?

Q Can a student take more than one English course at a time?


Answers

Q I am currently in Grade 11 in my country. Can I come to Ottawa and do one year of Grade 12 then go to university?

A Ontario’s Grade 12 courses are very language rich and require a high degree of fluency. Students require Grade 12 Advanced English in order to attend university. They also require five other Grade 12 academic courses with certain prescribed courses depending on the postsecondary program (eg. Science, Commerce) It may be possible, if your language level is exceptionally well developed (approximately 80 TOEFL iBT or IELTS 5) to do only one year of 6 Grade 12 courses and go directly to university. Usually, however, it is necessary and appropriate to complete the stipulated levels of ESL or junior English courses in order to develop the level of proficiency that will allow future success at a postsecondary level. Upon arrival in Ottawa, the language assessment at the OCENET office will determine the appropriate level of entry for each student.


Q I require certain specific courses for my return to my country. Can you guarantee that I will have those courses in my schedule?

A Schools in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board have a common provincial curriculum but in addition may offer certain elective courses depending on the size, strengths and interests of the student population. To the best of our ability, we endeavour to match the student’s requests and educational needs with the curriculum established by the Province of Ontario. The wide variety of courses will undoubtedly prove to be sufficient and enriching for the purposes of our international students.
Information on school offerings can be found here.

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Q My level of English is very advanced in my country. I do not think that I will need ESL. Can I go directly into a regular English programme?

A While it is very commendable that you have studied English for so long in your country, we will assess your level of written English as well as your level of comprehension and your oral English skills once you arrive in Ottawa. This assessment will allow us to determine the best placement and the most appropriate programme to ensure your success in the courses required for your own personal academic goals. If you do require some additional language support at the beginning, ESL courses are offered each semester, and some courses are offered at the sheltered level which gives the student a strong foundation to build on for the university admission courses.


Q Will I need to take a TOEFL test in order to be admitted to university?

A Many universities require a prescribed TOEFL score for admission to university if you have studied in an English language high school for less than four years. Some universities require only three years. The TOEFL scores required range from 86 to 90 with specific minimum requirements in written and oral. Other acceptable English test scores are IELTS and CAEL. See individual universities’ admissions web pages for requirements specific to that university.

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Q I want my child to attend one of the best schools. Can you give me the name of an excellent high school in Ottawa?

A All high schools in the Province of Ontario follow the mandated provincial curriculum under which the expectations and teaching components are clearly defined. Compulsory courses in Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences and English are offered at each grade level. While every school teaches the same curriculum and is accountable to the same standards, some schools may offer different elective, optional courses depending on their school population. These elective courses comprise arts, technology, humanities and social science courses. Every academic high school in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has seen students graduate from Grade 12 and go to world ranked universities.


Q Are there provincial exams that students must write in order to graduate?

A There are no provincial exams that students must take at the grade 12 level. There is a provincial curriculum for each subject but each school sets its own exams and the marks from these exams are used for university acceptance.

Each subject's final mark is based on an exam of 30% and the rest of the mark comes from class tests, projects, assignments and often a summative assignment that is worth a great deal. A student has to work all term to get a good mark since the final exam is only a small part of the final mark.

The provincial test is the OSSLT (an English literacy test) that is usually taken in grade 10 and is a requirement for graduation. ESL students are the exception. They take it when they are ready.

We have board wide exams in grade 9 or 10 for math and grade 12 English for college bound students but these results are only for our school board. They are not used for university admission.

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Q How many credits can be transferred from a China high school?

A Students receive credit for the number of high school grades they have successfully completed. A student will receive 8 credits for completing grade 9 (Junior 3), 16 credits for completing grade 10 (Senior 1) and 22 credits for completing grade 11 (Senior 2).


Q How many credits does a student need to graduate from high school in Ontario?

A A student needs a minimum of 30 credits to graduate from high school but if the student is planning to attend university he or she may need more credits. Most foreign students need to take more than 30 credits because they have to satisfy the English requirements for university.

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Q What is the progression of English courses a student must take in order to graduate from the Ontario school system?

A Students new to Canada will be assessed upon arrival for their English proficiency level. There are 5 ESL levels followed by regular grade level English courses. The more English students know before they come to Canada the sooner they can progress through the language levels. A student does not have to take all the ESL courses but is placed in the one that best suits the language level at time of arrival.

Ascending Order of English courses:
Level Meaning Lenth of time and value Grade
ESLAO

True beginner

One semester/One credit

Not connected to a grade

ESLBO

High beginner

One semester/One credit

Not connected to a grade

ESLCO

 Low intermediate

One semester/One credit

Not connected to a grade

ESLDO*

High intermediate

One semester/One credit

Not connected to a grade

ESLEO

Advanced

One semester/One credit

Not connected to a grade

ENG3U or ENG3C

Regular compulsory English

One semester/One credit

Grade 11

ENG4U or ENG4C

Regular compulsory English

One semester/One credit

Grade 12

* cannot be skipped

Example:

If students come at the ESLDO level (high intermediate) in grade 11 they will likely be able to finish high school in two years. If they come at the ESLCO (low intermediate) or ESLBO (high beginner) it will take longer.

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Q Can students earn English credits at summer school?

A A registered international student can take ESLEO and any of the regular English credits at summer school. Students are not allowed to take the other ESL courses at summer school. The cost of a summer course is $500.


Q Can a student take more than one English course at a time?

A For all compulsory English credits a student must take them one per semester in a progressive order, for example, grade 11 English before grade 12 English.

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