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Winston Churchill Literacy Test (OSSLT) Prep Guide 2013.

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1 Winston Churchill Literacy Test (OSSLT) Prep Guide 2013

2 A TAS Com-Tech Product: Introduction This guide is intended to be a resource for students, teachers and parents. It has several sections covering what to expect, how these questions are marked, examples of good and bad answers with explanations for why. Throughout the guide there are suggestions, tips and hints. You can jump from section to section or go through the guide in order. We recommend visiting this guide more than once.

3 Decoding the OSSLT : OSSLT-speak The OSSLT has its own special terminology. It’s important to know what their terms mean. Selection: A “selection” is the thing they have you read…it might be part of a book, a story from a magazine, something from a website, but basically it’s the thing you need to base your answers on. Prompt: The “prompt” is basically the question. For a Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion the “prompt” will be the topic they want you to write about. Response: Your “response” is your answer; what you write about the “selection” in answer to the “prompt.” Scoring: “Scoring” is the word they use for marking or grading. Your score on each question is called a Code. So if you get 30 they call it a Code 30. Conventions: Spelling, grammar, sentence structure and punctuation.

4 Recent discoveries have strengthened Alberta’s reputation as the “Dinosaur Capital of the World.” Scientists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, are examining the first duck-billed dinosaur skeleton to be recovered in northern Alberta. The skeleton could represent a new species of dinosaur. The hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, lived about 73 million years ago, when much of Alberta was covered by a vast inland sea. Herds of duck-billed creatures moved across the lushly vegetated lowlands, followed in time by predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex. Since the retreat of the ice more than years ago, erosion has carved out the hillsides, uncovering the bones of the once abundant dinosaurs and shaping the dramatic and mysterious Badlands. Interested teens and adults can attend Day Digs sponsored by the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Thousands of important specimens have been uncovered by participants, including a 1.3-metre-long leg bone from a duck-billed dinosaur, fragments of turtle shell, fossilized crocodile and fish teeth, remains of horned dinosaurs and nearly 100 tyrannosaur teeth! New Discoveries at the Dinosaur Capital of the World EXAMPLE: READ THE TITLE It will give you information you will probably need in the question. LOOK AT THE PHOTO The photo (or graphic) helps give you an idea of what the story is really about. Be careful to always try to relate the story to the photo. Looking at the photo alone can be misleading. You will likely see a short article from a magazine or a newspaper. It will either be a real-life story (narrative), a news article or an informational text – something that explains an event, a process, a social issue – anything from growing tomatoes on a space station to making candy. Often, but not always, there will be a photograph or a graphic. This is an example of a “Reading selection”. It will have both Multiple Choice and Open Response questions attached to it.

5 Recent discoveries have strengthened Alberta’s reputation as the “Dinosaur Capital of the World.” Scientists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, are examining the first duck-billed dinosaur skeleton to be recovered in northern Alberta. The skeleton could represent a new species of dinosaur. The hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, lived about 73 million years ago, when much of Alberta was covered by a vast inland sea. Herds of duck-billed creatures moved across the lushly vegetated lowlands, followed in time by predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex. Since the retreat of the ice more than years ago, erosion has carved out the hillsides, uncovering the bones of the once abundant dinosaurs and shaping the dramatic and mysterious Badlands. Interested teens and adults can attend Day Digs sponsored by the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Thousands of important specimens have been uncovered by participants, including a 1.3-metre-long leg bone from a duck-billed dinosaur, fragments of turtle shell, fossilized crocodile and fish teeth, remains of horned dinosaurs and nearly 100 tyrannosaur teeth! New Discoveries at the Dinosaur Capital of the World EXAMPLE:

6 These questions usually follow a series of multiple choice questions. Open Response questions will have six (6) lines for your answer and space below for your rough work. The question will be based on the text and it is intended to test your comprehension – did you understand what you just read? Also, it will test your ability to summarize. You need to support your answer with one or two (two is better) details from the text. In some cases you will have to make an inference – “What do I think based on what I’ve read and what I know?” These questions are marked out of 30…they are either 0 which means you didn’t answer the question, or 10, 20 or 30. The markers call these Code 10, Code 20 or Code 30.

7 Remember, even though there will be a number of multiple choice questions they are only worth ONE POINT EACH. The Open Response question is worth 30 POINTS. It’s important you spend some time answering the Open Response question as it is by far, the most important question in that section. The first thing you should do is restate the question in your answer. How might the information in this news report encourage people to visit Alberta? Becomes: More people might want to visit Alberta because…. You will be given six (six) lines to write your answer. Use them all. Above all: Never leave a question blank!

8 How might the information in this news report encourage people to visit Alberta? Use specific details and examples from the selection to support your answer. QUESTION: A “Code 10” – is a fail for some or all of the following reasons: The answer identifies one or more ways that this news report might encourage people to visit Alberta, but does not support the choice. The response provides: no support for the choice or irrelevant support based on the selection or support that applies to encouraging people to visit anywhere (e.g. because it is interesting to see different museums). This question is asking you to make an inference. Based on the article, why do you think some people might now want to visit Alberta? You should look for facts in that might cause more interest for tourists.

9 How might the information in this news report encourage people to visit Alberta? Use specific details and examples from the selection to support your answer. QUESTION: Explanation: This response is Code 10 (fail) because it provides support that could apply to anywhere, not specifically Alberta (“there is history there and caulture,” “something for eneyone to do there”). The spelling mistakes don’t help, but are not the reason this is a Code 10.

10 How might the information in this news report encourage people to visit Alberta? Use specific details and examples from the selection to support your answer. QUESTION: A “Code 20” – is better than a Code 10, but may or may not be “a pass.” It depends on your performance on the rest of the test. If you get nothing but Code 20’s on Reading questions it might not be enough to get you over the hump. Bottom line is always try to do as well as you can on the OSSLT. The response identifies one or more ways that this news report might encourage people to visit Alberta, but uses: vague support from the selection to show how the report might encourage people to visit Alberta (e.g., if you like dinosaurs, this museum has them all.) would be a Code 20 A Code 20 response is one where the reader is required to make the connection between the support and how it might encourage people on their own.

11 How might the information in this news report encourage people to visit Alberta? Use specific details and examples from the selection to support your answer. QUESTION: Explanation: This response is Code 20 because it identifies a way that the report encourages people to visit (“because there is a new species of dinosaurs”) but uses vague support. The reader is required to make the connection between the finding of the new species and the idea that “anyone can come dig and find a dinosaur themselves”.

12 How might the information in this news report encourage people to visit Alberta? Use specific details and examples from the selection to support your answer. QUESTION: A “Code 30” – is a definitely a “pass” and is what you should be shooting for. A response that identifies one or more ways that this news report might encourage people to visit Alberta, and uses specific and relevant support from the selection to clearly show how the article might encourage people to visit Alberta is a Code 30

13 How might the information in this news report encourage people to visit Alberta? Use specific details and examples from the selection to support your answer. QUESTION: Explanation: This response is a Code 30 because it identifies a way that the report encourages people to visit Alberta: (“readers may now be curious to see a possible new species”). The response uses a specific and relevant detail from the selection (Day Digs) and clearly shows how the Day Dig encourages people to visit Alberta (“People who read this news report may now want to participate in the Day Digs to discover new specimens.”). Look at the first sentence of this answer. The student has restated the question. This is a) on topic, b) makes you use examples from the text and c) takes up a line and a half. All of which are good.

14  Readings are typically 1-2 pages in length  Each paragraph is numbered for easy reference to questions  The readings include a picture or graphic related to the text

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16  Explain how a train can be similar to a bear. Use information from the text and your own ideas to support your answer.

17 How do I think that a bear and train can be similar? How do my ideas connect to the reading? Picture it TRAINBEAR Big Powerful Travels slowly Dangerous Both are found in Canada The train is called Little Bear, like a bear the train is big, slow-moving, but powerful

18  Little Bear, the train in Northern Ontario, is like a real bear. Both are big and powerful. Both travel slowly through the wilderness and both can be dangerous to people if they get too close. However, they are both important to Canada.


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