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. 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 fourth 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.