“Ministry Inspected”: What it Means for Your Ontario High School Diploma
The summer’s here and you’re looking at summer school.
Maybe you want to get ahead. Or, maybe you have to upgrade a course to get into your first choice program or school this September.
The thing is, there’s that summer job you’ve just been offered and that vacation your family’s been planning for the last few months. You can’t be trapped in a classroom by a regular schedule.
You need flexibility.
So you get online and start shopping, just like you’d search for clothes, books, movies, or the latest video game. Now think about it … when you shop for those things, you look at the reviews, you compare prices, and you probably choose an online store with a good reputation. If you can, you’ll probably buy from a trusted seller you’ve heard about from your family or friends. You might even want to be sure you can return items that don’t fit or arrive broken.
But now you’re shopping for something pretty important: your education.
How do you know if the online high school you find in your search is the real deal? Unless you know someone who’s already taken a course there, you’ll need some way to tell that you can trust their offer. If you’re careful about where you buy your clothes or games, think about how much more important it is that you invest in quality when it comes to an online high school course.
The Ministry of Education has Your Back
As online high school courses become increasingly popular, there are more and more schools out there who want to offer them. That won’t be changing anytime soon, especially in Ontario (with the new requirement that students complete four online courses for their high school diploma).
But if you’re concerned that the many choices out there could leave you more open to the risk of buying the wrong course from the wrong school, there is one easy way to put your mind at rest: before doing anything else, look for the words “ministry inspected.”
In fact, you might have noticed those two words when you first came to our website here at Ontario eSecondary. Even if you weren’t too sure what it meant, it sounded pretty good, right?
And it is good. As a private, ministry inspected online high school, here’s what it means:
“We have been reviewed by a certified officer of the Ministry of Education, who has determined that the course curriculum, assessment, evaluation, and reporting practices we have in place are valid for the purposes of completing the Ontario high school diploma.”
We’ve been given the ministry’s stamp of approval.
Ministry Inspected Quality: Beyond the Content
When a private school meets the requirements of a ministry inspection, the quality that you can expect as a student is top notch, and what we’re talking about here is so much more than just the course’s content.
Don’t get me wrong, of course you’ll want engaging activities and readings, interesting lesson materials, and opportunities to interact with your teachers and fellow students. But the ministry has to consider many other factors in their inspection, to ensure you are receiving an education that meets the standards of the province of Ontario.
Here’s a simplified checklist of what you should expect to see in a course that meets the provincial standards:
- Province-wide Curriculum: The course expectations identified in the provincial policy documents are covered in the lesson materials and activities.
- Assessment: The course reflects ongoing assessment for learning and as learning, to be certain that teachers and students are working together for student success.
- Evaluation: The course evaluations provide evidence of student learning and achievement, collected over time and using a variety of sources that include observation, conversation, and student products.
- Learning Goals and Success Criteria: For every lesson, the goals should be clearly identified in a language that students understand. The criteria for student success should be shared and understood by students and teachers – you should be on the same page, together.
- Learning Skills and Work Habits: While these things don’t get graded, they are considered important to student success now and in the future. Therefore, the teacher should be giving feedback and suggestions for ongoing improvement.
- Final Grade Breakdown: 70% of the final grade should be from evaluations done throughout the course, and 30% should be based on a final evaluation.
- Online School Policies: Policies regarding cheating, plagiarism, late and missed assignments, should all comply with what the ministry has outlined in the provincial document commonly referred to as Growing Success.
Ministry Inspected Schools and Your Ontario High School Diploma
Now you now know what to watch out for when considering an online high school and their course offerings.
To be sure they’re legitimate, you’ll read course descriptions, search for the words “ministry inspected”, and read the full course outlines, and you’ll know what to look for. All of this information should be easy to find and access on their website.
Once everything’s checked, you should feel more confident that the school is following the rules. Are you still feeling uncertain? If so, I don’t blame you, so let me put it all another way:
- Final grades received from one of these schools will be added to your official transcripts.
- All other qualified high schools and school boards in Ontario will accept the course you’ve completed.
- Universities and colleges will recognize the course and the final grade that you earn.
- Grades you earn in course upgrades completed at one of these schools will amend the earlier grade you earned during your previous attempt at the course.
- You can complete your Ontario High School Diploma at one of these schools.
Your Next Steps
Whether your plan is to get ahead or get an upgrade, you know you need flexibility and a guarantee that your investment of time and money will pay off. And now, to make your decision even easier, you know how to check for quality, based on the standards established by the Ministry of Education in Ontario.
You’re an educated online learning customer and you’re ready to shop!
But, just so you know, you don’t need to go anywhere else because you’ll find it all here at Ontario eSecondary.
- You can start your course at any time and work through the lessons and assignments at your own pace, any time day or night.
- We are ministry inspected, and now you know what that means!
- Our Ontario certified teachers will be available and ready to support you on your learning journey as soon as you’re ready to start.
- A 24-hour tutoring service is free for you to use as soon as you sign up.
If you still have any concerns, feel free to reach out to us anytime. We’re here to answer your questions.
Let’s do this!