The award is granted by the Ontario Ministry of Education, and consists of a certificate from the Minister of Education that is usually presented to students at their graduation ceremony. The award and its certificate are standardized by the Ministry of Education, however some schools choose internally to have special recognition of Ontario Scholars above and beyond this. The award is distinct from other academic acknowledgements such as an Honour Roll.
Prior to the elimination of Grade 13 in 2003, qualification was based on Grade 13 courses. From 1984 to 2003, the qualification process used Ontario Academic Credit (OAC) courses. In the 1960s Ontario Scholars received an award of $400. During the 1970s and 1980s, a $100 monetary award from the Province of Ontario was presented to Ontario Scholars along with their certificate. The student receives a certificate.
Relation to grade inflation
The number of Ontario Scholars has steadily increased since the 1960s. During those years, only around 5% of Ontario students were Ontario Scholars, with an average of 80% over seven of their grade 13 courses. By the 1980s, that number had risen to 40%, and currently sits at over 60% of graduates being Ontario Scholars with an 80% average or greater over their best six grade 12 courses. This is seen by some as evidence of the harmful effects of grade inflation, which results in higher standards to enter university, but more importantly, it represents a mismatch of performance and evaluation. The increase in the number of Ontario Scholars is connected with the removal of the standardized provincial exams, known as departmental.
- Ministry of EducationThe stated requirement is that the student "obtains an aggregate of at least 480 marks in any combination of ministry-approved courses ... that provide a total of six credits..."
- Bayefsky & Waldman 2007, p. 488.
- Bayefsky, Anne Fruma; Waldman, Arieh (2007). State Support for Religious Education: Canada Versus the United Nations. Studies in Religion, Secular Beliefs And Human Rights 3. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 9789004149809.
- "Policy/Program Memorandum No. 53". Queen's Printer for Ontario (Ministry of Education). Retrieved 2009-02-14.