EQAO Testing - Advice to Members
Standardized testing is not something new for students in Ontario. Elementary and secondary students have taken part in testing at all levels – provincially, nationally and internationally for many years. We have witnessed an increase in the amount of testing that occurs in our schools over the past several years. This is largely due to the political initiatives of a government that views standardized tests as tools to monitor a few select variables.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office was established by the government to accomplish its mandate of designing new tests for Grades 3, 6, 9, 10 in reading, writing, and mathematics, managing their administration, reporting the results to the public, and collecting data that can help determine the effectiveness of the education system in Ontario.
From the onset, the testing has created raised levels of anxiety for students, parents, teachers, and school boards.
From security issues, to timeline issues, to validity issues, the EQAO has faced a great deal of controversy and criticism over the course of the past several years. Despite this it continues to prepare each year for another round of testing.
It is important to note that students’ results on these tests are NOT a comment on teacher performance in the classroom. While teachers in Grades 3 and 6 may feel highly pressured to “deliver” high test results so that their class and school fare well on these tests, ETFO urges its members not to succumb to this pressure. Poor score results on these tests are usually the result of multiple factors far beyond the teacher’s control.
If the rules surrounding test administration are not followed properly, a teacher may be accused of improperly administering the test, intervening, or assisting students improperly in order to influence test results, or even changing students’ answers on the test.
It is important to note that such allegations, if proved, can result in severe disciplinary measures against a teacher, and an allegation of professional misconduct at the Ontario College of Teachers.
Some recent cases have alleged:
The allegations were raised as a result of children reporting to their parents incidents surrounding the testing.
When the EQAO receives test results, it searches for “anomalous” results or problems. This could mean similar wrong answers, similar erasures, or many identical right answers on problems that do not lend themselves to the same answers. A suspicion of inappropriate application of the test may result in a prolonged investigation by the EQAO and the school board involving the teacher’s actions.
Some reminders about EQAO testing:
The EQAO Administration Guide 2016 is available here. It provides a clear outline of the Do’s and Don’ts of administering the assessments. These guidelines should be followed closely.
REMEMBER, THESE TESTS ARE NOT A REFLECTION OF YOUR PERFORMANCE AS A TEACHER.
Refer to the related EQAO Member Advisories which can be found on the ETFO website.
If you have any questions or concerns about EQAO Testing, please call and speak with a PRS Counsellor at 1-888-838-3836 or 416- 962-3836.