EQAO Publishes Provincial Report and School- and Board-Level Results on Provincial Testing



    TORONTO, Sept. 19 /CNW/ - Today the Education Quality and Accountability
Office (EQAO) releases school- and board-level results, as well as Ontario
Student Achievement: EQAO's Provincial Report on the Results of the 2006-2007
Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Primary Division (Grades 1-3)
and Junior Division (Grades 4-6), and the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics.
    The release of student achievement results at the school and school-board
levels provides opportunities for jurisdictions to speak about their local
results and reaffirm their initiatives.
    "These assessment results have become a catalyst for annual reflection
and discussion among all of Ontario's education partners," said Charles
Pascal, Chair of EQAO's Board of Directors. "EQAO data are widely used as a
driver for education improvement. Everything we do is informed by our passion
for learning and our respect for the classroom teacher as the pre-eminent
agent for progress."
    The Provincial Report profiles 18 schools from across the province
representative of those that have been successful at improving their students'
achievement and maintaining these gains over time.
    "EQAO results and other data gathering have helped us become more focused
every year and deepen our understanding, so that we have seen an evolution in
our teaching," reports principal Cheryl Fowler of Central Public School in
Bowmanville.
    "I was not a fan of EQAO in the beginning. Now I see that it acted as a
springboard for this entire process. It really forces us to reflect on
ourselves as educators and (ask) what we can do to really push our students,"
says Dawn Laliberté, mathematics department head at Keswick High School in
Keswick.
    "What (teachers) are doing in the classroom is research-based. It used to
be gut-based. EQAO kick-started that change," affirms Sylvia Parker, principal
at North Star Community School in Atikokan.
    "These tests are an important snapshot of student achievement," said
Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer. "The results have become a
trusted and valued source of information that informs school and board
improvement planning efforts across the province. They complement the
classroom teacher's evaluation and provide a reference to achievement in
relation to a provincial standard."

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    Backgrounder

    

    What Experts Say About EQAO Tests

    "Advice and effort from many perspectives went into the setting of
    standards for EQAO's tests. Once set, the standards do not change, but
    the achievement of students has, and therein lies the value of the
    tests."
                                      -Robert Wilson, Professor Emeritus
                                                      Queen's University


    "EQAO employs best assessment practices to develop and score its
    assessments carefully so that individual student scores and class and
    school results can be validly interpreted. At the same time, EQAO works
    to ensure that the assessments are comparable from one year to next,
    thereby allowing the valid interpretation of change across years."
             -Dr. W. Todd Rogers, EQAO Scholar in Residence and Professor
               Centre for Research and Applied Measurement and Evaluation
                                                    University of Alberta


    "There are professional teachers who are scoring (the tests). They are
    well trained, and there are many checks and balances in the system to
    help ensure that scores are reliable."
                                -Maureen Riggin, EQAO Scorer and Teacher
                                 Loretto Abbey Catholic SS, Toronto CDSB


    "Over the past four years at the school that I've been at, when we get
    the EQAO results back we get the summary report, and we dissect it and
    look at where the kids are having the most difficulties, and then we set
    up action plans to build on those skills for the following year."
                                 -Peter Marchand, EQAO Scorer and Teacher
                         Holy Family School, Brant Haldimand Norfolk CDSB


    "EQAO's assessments have proved to be tremendous tools for refining
    teaching practice. One of the great accomplishments of the assessments is
    that they allow us to test what we are teaching and gain a greater
    understanding of where students need support. Assessment for learning has
    become our mantra."
                                         -Val Drury, Former Principal
                                St. Patrick School, Northeastern CDSB


    "We see the EQAO test not as an end in itself but as a learning process
    that begins as early as elementary school. EQAO brings everyone-
    elementary teachers, Notre Dame teachers, board personnel, parents and,
    of course, students-together in a very real, collaborative learning
    community."
                                                -Michael Bak, Principal
                      Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, Durham CDSB


    Testing the Curriculum

    The provincial tests administered at the end of the primary division
(Grade 3) and the junior division (Grade 6) are based on The Ontario
Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Language (revised 2006) and The Ontario Curriculum,
Grades 1-8: Mathematics (revised 2005) and their expectations outlining the
knowledge and skills students should have acquired at these stages of their
schooling. The Grade 9 mathematics test is based on The Ontario Curriculum,
Grades 9 and 10: Mathematics (revised 2005) and the expectations for student
knowledge and performance by the end of Grade 9.

    Use of Calculators

    Students have always been allowed to use calculators for EQAO test
questions that are not simply testing computation skills. In previous designs
of the test, straight computation questions were all placed in a separate test
booklet for which students could not use calculators. Following the 2004
independent Ensuring Quality Assessments review of EQAO practices, the test
administration time was shortened and test questions were designed to require
multi-step problem solving rather than simple computation. However, in the
2007 primary division assessment, the first seven multiple-choice questions
were computational, and students were not allowed to use calculators for that
portion of the assessment.
    The Ontario Curriculum, on which EQAO tests are based, expects students to
extend their mathematical thinking through problem solving. They may use the
calculator as a tool to help them solve problems. Here is a question from the
2007 junior division assessment as an example:

        A school needs to buy 2400 pencils. The prices for pencils at
        3 stores are shown below.

           -  Store A sells 60 pencils for $1.80.
           -  Store B sells 30 pencils for $0.99.
           -  Store C sells 15 pencils for $0.55.

        The school will purchase the pencils with the lowest price. Which
        store has the lowest price for 2400 pencils?
    

    Students were allowed to use a calculator for this question. This example
shows how students must first understand the mathematical processes required
to solve the problem and then must properly perform the mathematical
operations in order to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge.

    EQAO Test Development

    Each year, over 3000 Ontario educators play a central role in creating
EQAO student assessments by participating in test development, test-question
review and selection and scoring of the assessments.
    Ongoing research into national and international best practices for
large-scale assessment and regular consultation with a panel of experts in the
field allow EQAO to deliver on its commitment to offering world-class
assessment programs.

    About EQAO

    EQAO was established in 1996 based on recommendations from Ontario's
Royal Commission on Learning. The all-party Commission consulted extensively
with teachers, parents, students and taxpayers. It concluded that
province-wide assessments would contribute to greater quality and
accountability in the publicly funded school system.
    EQAO is an independent provincial agency governed by a nine-member Board
of Directors appointed by the Ontario cabinet. It is not a political
instrument but an instrument for improving learning. Board members bring a
wide range of expertise and experience in government, education, business and
social services.
    EQAO plays an important role in Ontario education by conducting
province-wide tests at key points in every student's primary, junior and
secondary education and by reporting the results. The tests measure student
performance in reading, writing and mathematics based on the expectations set
out in The Ontario Curriculum.
    Results from EQAO testing are an important indicator of student learning
and measure achievement in relation to a common provincial standard. The
objective and reliable information gained through these assessments adds to
the current knowledge about how Ontario students are doing and has become an
important tool for improvement planning at the student, school, school-board
and provincial levels.





For further information:

For further information: and to arrange interviews, please contact Phil
Serruya, Manager of Communications and Public Affairs, (416) 325-2230,
phil.serruya@eqao.com

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