Students Short-Changed by Government's Focus on Test Scores

TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - Teachers have raised concerns that the provincial government's push for improved provincial test scores is making it difficult for them to provide a balanced program for elementary students.

According to an Environics Research Group survey of Ontario elementary school teachers, 77 percent of teachers feel that the range of topics taught to students is being narrowed because of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing program.

"Teachers feel their students are being denied a well-rounded education because of the government's focus on test scores. It has created a skewed emphasis on literacy and numeracy to the detriment of other subjects," explains Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) president Sam Hammond.

"The government has recently underlined, for example, the importance of arts and physical education, but the intense focus on literacy and numeracy means there is just not enough time for these other subjects," said Hammond.

The majority of teachers surveyed also think that EQAO testing has either made no difference to the quality of elementary education in Ontario, or even made it worse. A large majority think EQAO testing should be phased out.

"Other jurisdictions with a history of large-scale assessments are reducing or cancelling their testing programs. It's time for Ontario to review its student assessment regime," Hammond said.

The Environics survey was conducted in early November, 2009, among a sample of 1,010 Ontario elementary teachers who are ETFO members. The margin of error for a sample of this size is considered to be plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (Office); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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