Changes to EQAO tests in math and literacy and other skills measured on report cards are coming, announced Premier Kathleen Wynne this week.
A panel of experts is currently on the job and will make its recommendations in the next few months following their findings.
Many educators and parents agree that EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) testing does not provide the whole picture when it comes to testing a student’s knowledge and skillset.
With the workplace rapidly changing, there needs to be an emphasis put on skills that will help students adapt to changes. It is expected that the panel will recommend new skills and perhaps put more emphasis on other aspects of learning through kindergarten through Grade 12.
That means looking at the role, relevance and timing of standardized tests administered by the province as well as what parents read on their children’s report cards.
EQAO scores have been disappointing and falling grades has become a concern for educators, parents and politicians who are acutely aware that the economic success of the province depends on the quality of the workforce.
Ontario students in Grades 3 and 6 are tested for reading, writing and math. They are tested again for math in Grade 9 and take a mandatory literacy test in Grade 10.
What happens is that teachers may be tending to focus on boosting test scores while ignoring other critical skills. These can often be the kind of valuable skills that could be of importance in the workplace of the future.
The new panel will also consider how to update and broaden the scope of report cards by including things like a student’s ability to distinguish fact from opinion, how they use and interpret social media and the Internet, and their ability to question and rationalize issues.
When the workplace is evolving so rapidly, students being churned out of schools and universities are often not equipped to take advantage of certain jobs and new fields that require certain skills because often their education hasn’t been broad enough to help them adapt or consider another kind of job. With the result, there is often a mismatch of skills which leads to so many jobs being outsourced and so many bright young graduates finding themselves struggling to land jobs. Hopefully the changes will create the desired change. – CINEWS