EQAO Responds to Claim of Board Member's Conflict of Interest

TORONTO, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - In a report that aired on CBC Radio today, claims were made that Dr. Lorna Earl, one of Canada's pre-eminent leaders in the field of assessment and evaluation and a member of EQAO's board of directors since 2005, is in a position of conflict of interest by virtue of her activities as an educational consultant.

According to the Education Quality and Accountability Office Act and Ontario's Agency Establishment and Accountability Directive, the board of directors is responsible for managing the agency through activities such as setting the goals, objectives and strategic direction of the agency, overseeing the preparation of the agency's annual business plan, and establishing governance policies or by-laws for governing its operations and ensuring that public funds are being used with honesty and integrity. EQAO board members do not have any knowledge of the specifics of the assessments, beyond information already in the public domain. They do not see the tests or test questions, nor do they have any influence over the content of the tests.

A respected scholar, author and practitioner, Dr. Earl is sought out by educational groups throughout Canada and across the world for her expertise. Her work with school boards began well before her appointment to the EQAO board and involves initiatives such as program reviews and workshops on how to collect data from a wide range of sources and how to use this information to guide decision making. Dr. Earl does not conduct programs focused specifically on improving EQAO results. The focus of her life's work has been on educational change and enhancing processes to improve student learning.

"We have been exceptionally fortunate to benefit from Dr. Earl's expertise. Her insights and contributions have been of tremendous value to the agency. Both Dr. Earl and the EQAO board have always acted with the utmost integrity and professionalism," said Dr. Brian L. Desbiens, Chair of EQAO's Board of Directors. "At the same time, we understand and fully support the need for complete transparency. Therefore, as the agency's ethics officer, I have referred the matter to Ontario's Conflict of Interest Commissioner for an independent determination."

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SOURCE Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)

For further information: For further information: Robin Dafoe, Director, Corporate Services and Public Affairs, (416) 326-9701, robin.dafoe@eqao.com

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