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The OSSLT’s short writing tasks require students to read a selection and use their knowledge and experience to construct a well-written paragraph. There are a few different kinds of questions presented in the short writing tasks, and it’s important that students read the questions carefully.
For example, some questions ask students to use only details from the reading selection in their answer, while others ask students to draw on their own experiences in addition to details from the text. These are just some of the differences.
Here are some sample questions taken from previous tests available on the EQAO website. (Assume students have read the selection.)
- Identify one skill that Eric uses to promote the skateboard park. Use specific details from the selection to support your answer.
- What is the best advice you have ever given to someone? Use specific details to explain your answer.
- State a main idea from this selection and provide one specific detail from the selection that supports it.
- Should every teenager join a team or club? Use specific details to explain why or why not.
- Explain whether this archaeological find settles the historical question about who invented pasta. Use specific details from the selection and your own ideas to support your answer.
- Summarize this selection. Include a main idea and one detail that supports it.
As you can see, it’s a fairly long list of variations on the short writing task. Note that the summary, which I talked about in the past two posts, is also considered a short writing task. You’ll find tips about the summary here and here.
I future posts, I’ll discuss the differences between the short writing tasks and how students can best approach them. In the meantime, have a look at this video, in which a teacher provides tips about how to answer one of the kinds of short writing tasks listed above. Can you identify which one? He also discusses three student answers and explains their strengths and weaknesses.