Peel school board calls for suspension of EQAO testing after ‘worrying’ math results

Click to play video: 'Ontario government reviewing curriculum with focus on math' Ontario government reviewing curriculum with focus on math
Wed, Sep 6: Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province is looking to "refresh" the current curriculum with possible changes to standardized testing. Lama Nicolas has more – Sep 6, 2017

The public school board for Brampton and Mississauga is asking Ontario’s education ministry to temporarily stop administering standardized testing while the program goes under review.

Janet McDougald, chair of the Peel District School Board (PDSB), said math results in the annual Education Quality and Accountability Office tests continue to be “disappointing” and “worrying” despite significant efforts to improve achievement levels.

READ MORE: Ontario math test scores for elementary school students not improving

“There’s either a problem with the curriculum as it relates to the test or there’s a problem with the tests themselves,” she said on the Kelly Cutrara Show on AM640 Thursday.

“In other words, that the students aren’t achieving because the test isn’t capturing what they’re learning.”

Story continues below advertisement

A motion asking the ministry to suspend the EQAO tests — which cover math, reading and writing — for the 2017-2018 academic year was passed by the PDSB on Tuesday. The trustees also asked other Ontario boards to support the move.

LISTEN: Janet McDougald, chair of the Peel District School Board, joins Kelly Cutrara on AM640

The Peel District School Board’s most recent EQAO results are in line with how students performed across the province.

However, for the last two years, only half of Grade 6 students in Ontario met the provincial standard in math, while 62 per cent of Grade 3 students met the standard.

Among the Grade 9 students, 83 per cent of those taking academic math met the standard, while that figure was 44 per cent for those in the applied math stream.

Story continues below advertisement

Those results follow last year’s introduction of a three-year, $60-million provincial strategy that mandates an average of 60 minutes of math be taught each day for students in Grades 1 through 8.

WATCH: Ontario students’ math scores not adding up

Click to play video: 'Ontario students’ math scores not adding up' Ontario students’ math scores not adding up
Ontario students’ math scores not adding up – Aug 30, 2017

In September, the province promised it would be “modernizing” reports cards, revising the curriculum and reviewing how students are assessed, including through the EQAO tests.

Education Minister Mitzie Hunter has told several media outlets she will not suspend the EQAO tests in the meantime, saying “it’s important that parents are still receiving information about how their child is doing at school” as the province completes the review.

LISTEN: Sam Hammond, ETFO president, joins Tasha Kheiriddin on AM640

Story continues below advertisement

Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, said the union’s long-standing position is that standardized testing provides a limited assessment and should be eliminated altogether.

“We have said repeatedly that our members, teachers in classrooms every day, do ongoing assessments with students on all aspects of the curriculum, not just two specific parts of it [literacy/writing and math], and are in constant communication based on those assessments with parents,” he said on the Tasha Kheiriddin Show on Thursday.

With a file from the Canadian Press

Sponsored content