Category Archives: EQAO
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Very interesting piece from the Huffington Post (called The Global Search) on the left sidebar, under Numeracy in the News. Read the entire article below, or click here for the link to the original source…
“The way to improve the quality of teaching is through teamwork in the schools, and then surround it with better teacher pre-service, better attraction of the profession, and better professional development.” — Michael Fullan
“With Sir Ken Robinson, we want to map out the curriculum that includes the arts as well as literacy and math.” — Michael Fullan
Professor Michael Fullan and C. M. Rubin
Here’s an article from the news feed. You can view the article from its original source by clicking here.
Election platform aims to put focus back on education, not ineffective testing
Ontario teachers are tired of feeding government’s insatiable appetite for evidence that its top-down initiatives are working.
In anticipation of the October 2011 provincial election, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has prepared an education platform
ETFO, which represents more than 76,000 education workers, believes the system can do a better job of addressing the learning needs of diverse student population and ensuring that graduating students are well-prepared for higher education, training, and citizenship. “Strengthening the education system will contribute to a healthy, vibrant society in the future,” writes ETFO President Sam Hammond.
A top issue for ETFO is a standardized testing and how this deprives more important educational priorities of needed resources.
ETFO says that current Liberal government has focused on increasing the achievement levels in literacy and numeracy as measured by the grade 3 and 6 tests administered by the Educational Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). “The political imperative to see 75 percent of grade 6 students achieving an above average level 3 in these tests has led to a disproportionate amount of classroom time and resources being allocated to teaching literacy and numeracy.”
Teachers, ETFO says, are spending increasing amounts of time collecting assessment data related to EQAO “to feed the government’s insatiable appetite for evidence that its myriad top-down initiatives are leading to improved student test scores. Consequently, not all students receive a balanced curriculum that pays sufficient attention to social studies, science, the arts, or health and physical education. Scaling back on the literacy and numeracy assessment initiatives is the top concern identified by ETFO members.”
There are alternatives. Finland, a top-performing nation on international assessments conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development uses random sample tests to occasionally check to see if its curriculum and teaching approaches are appropriate. Ontario should adopt the same approach, ETFO says.
“The most effective assessment of student progress is the assessment that teachers do every day in the classroom,” the platform states. “If the government is truly interested in improving the levels of student success, it should put its focus on supporting teachers’ skills in ongoing classroom assessment rather than on the limited measurement of EQAO tests.”
Meanwhile, the number of specialist teachers at the elementary level has significantly declined since 1997-1998 as the result of a funding formula introduced by the Mike Harris Conservatives. Recent small increases in funding for specialist teachers “still leave elementary students significantly short-changed in terms of their access to quality programs in the arts and health and physical education,” says ETFO.
“You don’t want to feel like you’re the person who was responsible for it.”
Giuliani said he often hears proponents suggest that EQAO results are only one measure of student progress, yet he points out that the results are often used to drive everything from school-improvement plans and school-board initiatives to the agenda of the province’s Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat and real-estate sales.
The results are also widely published, placing a “tremendous” responsibility on teachers, even though the tests fall at the ends of the primary, junior and intermediate divisions and don’t reflect the work of just one person. “Because you are holding the bag as a teacher that year, a lot of teachers feel a tremendous amount of pressure and it’s not something they can control,” Giuliani said.
There are many teachers who might have taught Grades 3 or 6 in the past and would enjoy teaching those grades again, but avoid doing so because of the EQAO tests, he added.
The provincial testing authority is overhauling its 17-page assessment guide for teachers and principals after 10 Ontario schools had their EQAO results withheld because some teachers broke the rules by providing students with questions beforehand, photocopying the previous year’s tests or providing resource materials such as dictionaries.
Bernard-Grandmaître, a French Catholic elementary school in Riverside South, is one of the 10 schools.
EQAO’s chief assessment officer says the revised guide will draw people’s attention to the dos and don’ts.
“My suspicion was, and perhaps it’s been borne out by what’s happened, that fewer and fewer people were reading the guide,” Marie Parsons said. “When you don’t read the guide, you can more easily make errors.”
The guide will now include a checklist on how to administer the annual tests. Among other things, the checklist will tell teachers whether a calculator is allowed on the math test, inform them they can’t read passages aloud on the reading test and clarify when dictionaries can and can’t be used.
Parsons says the clearer instructions should give teachers fewer excuses to say they were not aware of the rules.
Still, the former public-school superintendent acknowledged the stress the tests can cause.
“There probably is a heightened anxiety level,” she said, adding the EQAO does not endorse many of the ways its results are used. “We don’t support using the results to rank schools and sell real estate.”
Parsons said the measures to catch cheaters are more rigorous than in other provinces, but EQAO does rely on an honour system when it comes to teachers who deliberately or unintentionally break the rules.
This year’s problems were discovered through calls to an EQAO tips line or the schools themselves admitting there had been problems with the testing.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
ELEMENTARY TEACHERS’ FEDERATION OF ONTARIO | Students Short-Changed by Government’s Focus on Test Scores
Click on the link above to view the article from it’s original source OR read it below:
Students Short-Changed by Government’s Focus on Test Scores
TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ – Teachers have raised concerns that the provincial government’s push for improved provincial test scores is making it difficult for them to provide a balanced program for elementary students.
According to an Environics Research Group survey of Ontario elementary school teachers, 77 percent of teachers feel that the range of topics taught to students is being narrowed because of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing program.
“Teachers feel their students are being denied a well-rounded education because of the government’s focus on test scores. It has created a skewed emphasis on literacy and numeracy to the detriment of other subjects,” explains Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) president Sam Hammond.
“The government has recently underlined, for example, the importance of arts and physical education, but the intense focus on literacy and numeracy means there is just not enough time for these other subjects,” said Hammond.
The majority of teachers surveyed also think that EQAO testing has either made no difference to the quality of elementary education in Ontario, or even made it worse. A large majority think EQAO testing should be phased out.
“Other jurisdictions with a history of large-scale assessments are reducing or cancelling their testing programs. It’s time for Ontario to review its student assessment regime,” Hammond said.
The Environics survey was conducted in early November, 2009, among a sample of 1,010 Ontario elementary teachers who are ETFO members. The margin of error for a sample of this size is considered to be plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 73,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.
For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (Office); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)
A reminder that the EQAO In-service continues this Wednesday at the JC Hill computer lab for grade 3 teachers in the morning and grade 6 teachers in the afternoon. Remember to bring your reading strategy to share with the rest of the teachers. It isn’t often that we get to meet across schools to share our strengths so please take advantage of the opportunity. Also, feel free to share the resources and strategies with your entire primary and junior divisions. The EQAO assessment is a responsibility that entire divisions share, not just the grade 3 and 6 teachers. Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!
Fresh off the EQAO e-mail newsletter.
Robin and I are working on some assistance/PD/in-service for teachers in the EQAO grades. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open for more on this to come.
The provincial news release “EQAO Publishes School- and Board-Level Results of Provincial Testing” and a backgrounder are also available.
Results for all publicly funded elementary and secondary schools and their school boards are available at www.eqao.com.