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Standardized testing: failing grade

Time-consuming, high stress test has questionable merit, say Ontario teachers.

September 17, 2009 — Elementary teachers feel strongly that standardized test results, such as the student assessments released today by the Education Quality and Accountability Office, do not give parents a true picture of their child's progress.

There are many reasons for this, says Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario president Sam Hammond.

Students are often confused and experience a great deal of stress during the tests due to the inflexible schedule and abnormal classroom environment.

"The tests therefore cannot be a realistic measure of a child's overall achievement," said Hammond. "A more realistic indicator is what happens on a daily basis in classrooms across Ontario. Daily assessments by teachers can much more accurately evaluate what students have learned. Teachers know that good program decisions require many assessments."

The tests don't access the whole child or the whole curriculum.

"They provide only one assessment, at one point in time. As well, test data are subject to misuse and misinterpretation," said Hammond, citing the ranking of schools as one of the worst examples of misuse.

"Overall, multiple choice tests don't accurately access student knowledge, critical thinking ability, or many of the skills and knowledge outlined in the provincial curriculum.

"EQAO expenses are more than $30 million a year. The resources used to create, administer, and mark the tests would be better spent supporting students and teachers in the classroom," Hammond said.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across Ontario and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

Links and sources
  Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario website

Posted: September 25, 2009

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