"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ontario Teachers Call For 2 Year Moratorium on Standardized Testing in Grades 3 and 6

Which one of the prostituted and top-heavy U. S. teachers' unions will be the first to follow the ethical and pro-student lead of British and, now, Canadian teachers?  From the Ottawa Citizen (ht to Monty Neill):

. . . .Teachers say the standardized tests have created opportunities for professional development, fostered more collaboration among teachers and helped some plan lessons.

But those benefits could have been achieved through cheaper means and some teachers add EQAO is of limited or no use for informing parents about their child's progress in school, or assessing the quality of the education system as a whole.

The report suggests the goal of making all children capable of performing to a specific level in EQAO is at odds with the Ministry of Education's goal that learning should be geared toward a child's specific needs.

Teachers say EQAO testing means non-test subjects such as arts, drama, music and even science get less attention than the subject areas of the tests, which focus on literacy and numeracy skills.

Teachers also say the pressure on students, particularly those in Grade 3, is too much.

"They are starting to think of school as a series of hoops to jump through," one participant was quoted as saying.

The standardized tests also have "huge drawbacks" to special-needs and English-as-a-second-language students, as well as those from different cultural backgrounds, students with behavioural issues or learning disabilities, and highly gifted students.

And despite the tests being "standardized," the report claims EQAO tests are not uniformly administered, putting test results, comparability and tracking over time into question.

According to the teachers, schools administer tests differently, and the standards of marking have changed over time, as have the difficulty of the tests.

Finally, there is the cost -- in both class time to prepare and resources spent to administer the EQAO tests.

"School boards are always cutting back and saying 'we can't afford this' -- things that I would say are essential, like educational assistants and more personnel, yet they're willing to put tons of money into EQAO," says another participant.

The study says most teachers think the testing should be eliminated. Otherwise, they recommend the government reduce the scale of the test to reduce pressure on students and teachers, consider random sampling, and take steps to reduce the importance of EQAO testing in the eyes of the public as the best or only way of evaluating a school. . . .

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