The design of the Ontario education system at the secondary level is framed on the concept of students earning credits, both mandatory and optional credits. A credit is defined by the Ministry of Education as being a program of study utilizing 110 hours. The course coding of all programs offered through OVS employ a 5-character system that is established and recognized by the Ministry of Education; for example:
The first digit indicates the major area of study for the course; for example M-mathematics, S-science, E-english The second and third digit serves as the course descriptor within the subject area; CV- calculus and vectors, BI-biology The forth digit signifies the grade level; 1 is grade 9, 2 is grade 10, 3 is grade 11 and 4 is grade 12 The fifth and last digit is used to denote the intensity by which the course will be delivered. In grade 9 & 10 options include D representing academic, P for applied and O for open level courses. In grade 11 & 12, this digit is geared towards the post secondary destination: U is university, C is for college and M represents courses open to university or college.