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Manitoba to fund early-years assessment tools, education minister says

Manitoba Education Minister Wayne Ewasko. Global News / File

Manitoba educators will get a boost when it comes to digital assessment tools to help identify early years students’ needs, the province said Monday.

Education and early childhood learning minister Wayne Ewasko announced $1.6 million in funding for both English and French programs, based on consultations with superintendents at Manitoba school divisions and a review of current early years assessment tools.

“These new resources will provide teachers and clinicians with equitable access to early identification tools, specialized assessments and interventions to identify student learning needs, and develop supports and programming to improve outcomes,” Ewasko said in a statement.

The bulk of the funding, $1 million, is slated for a partnership with the Learning Bar for an assessment program that covers three school years beginning in 2023-24 for interested divisions.

Ewasko said more than a third of current Manitoba divisions use the Early Years Evaluation tool, and there’s a desire to expand. The province said it intends to evaluate the data it collects, with the potential to consider provincewide implementation.

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A further $600,000 will go toward a partnership with Pearson Clinical Assessment’s Digital Assessment Library, which helps with the early identification of student learning needs.

“Investing in access to this digital library on behalf of school divisions will enable them to give up their licences and use that funding for front-line educational services,” said Ewasko.

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