The following video was produced in 2010 and is ETFO's most popular video ever.
Many teachers have reservations about the wide-scale use of standardized tests. But the government mandates their use across Ontario in grades 3, 6, and 9 to test all children's literacy and numeracy. Teachers feel that classroom-based assessment by teachers is the best source of information about student learning.
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 a disproportionate focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of science and technology, social studies, the arts, and physical education.
The EQAO’s most recent annual report indicates expenses of approximately $30 million. And individual boards spend more. Think about what that money could do if it were spent on education instead:
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
Parents want to know how their children are doing at school on an ongoing basis. 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.
The tests are a small “snapshot” in comparison to the daily more meaningful assessment that teachers plan carefully for in connection to their instructional delivery.
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.
There is a better way. Your union and other teacher unions are advocating that the EQAO
If you are concerned about EQAO testing and the impact of test results on education in Ontario, contact your MPP and your school board.