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This video was released at Annual Meeting 2010 and is available on our YouTube Channel. We encourage you to share it widely.
Professor Joel Westheimer from the University of Ottawa gave a presentation on the negative impact of standardized testing at the February 2010 Representative Council meeting.
Large-scale Testing in Ontario
Large-scale, standards-based testing is not new for students. For many years, elementary and secondary students have taken part in testing at all levels – provincially, nationally, and internationally. Over the past fifteen years, the amount of testing in our schools has increased. This is largely because successive governments have viewed large-scale assessments as tools to monitor a few select variables.
In 1996, the government established the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) to:
Since its creation, the EQAO has faced a great deal of criticism, particularly on the issues of security, timelines, validity of the tests, and uses of the data. This pressure narrows the curriculum and leads to disproportionate focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of science, social studies, the arts, and physical education.
EQAO’s most recent annual report indicates expenses of $33 million in 2009-10. A further $77 million is spent by the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat designing and mandating programs designed to improve test scores. And individual boards spend more. Think about what that money could do if it were spent on education instead:
Teachers Know Students Best
When it comes to assessing the learning of the whole child, teachers know best. Teachers know that classroom assessments are at the heart of good teaching and student learning. Classroom assessments are invaluable because they:
Standardized Tests Don’t Ensure Accountability
Parents want to know how their children are doing at school. Do the EQAO tests help? Elementary teachers feel strongly that large-scale assessments such as the EQAO’s grade 3 and 6 tests do not give parents a true picture of their child’s progress. This is because:
Helping Students Survive the EQAO Test
When your children write the tests, help them cope with the process by telling them to relax and just do the best they can. The test isn’t about their progress; it’s about the education system. If your children are worried about the test, talk to their teachers.
Much more important than how children do on tests is how they learn. You can help your children learn by:
There is a better way. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is calling on the government to implement a moratorium on the EQAO tests for two years. During that time, ETFO is calling an independent review, including public consultations, on the most appropriate strategies and tools to measure student progress.
If you are concerned about EQAO testing and the impact of test results on education in Ontario, contact your MPP and your school board.