TORONTO, Sept. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Catholic school trustees are spreading misinformation and untruths to defend and maintain a bloated testing bureaucracy that exists within school boards and school administration, and whose only purpose is data collection, rather than helping students.
"Teachers who are with students every day helping them learn and develop are the best people to assess the type and frequency of testing tools that best suit their students," says Kevin O'Dwyer, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA). "The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recognizes that a teacher's professional judgement is the cornerstone of assessment and evaluation."
The Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association (OCSTA) finds it objectionable that the MoU allows teachers to use their discretion regarding the timing, scope, frequency and choice of testing tools from a board pre-approved list.
"What could be objectionable about teachers using their professional judgement to determine student-appropriate assessment and using the results to improve student learning? This is the heart of teaching!" says Claire Laughlin, a member of the Professional Development Department at OECTA whose expertise is in student assessment.
"OECTA objects to board-mandated and repetitive diagnostic testing for the sake of data collection that tests and assesses the same things, requires large amounts of instructional and student learning time, while measuring progress in a few limited areas of the Ontario Curriculum," Laughlin adds. Boards already have access to large quantities of data from EQAO, which tests students in grades 3,6, 9 and 10, and from the report card data of each individual student.
The MoU recognizes the value of assessment. However, instead of testing each student three or four times a year to collect data for data's sake, the MoU ensures reasonableness and consistency throughout the system for the benefit of students. This will allow teachers more time for instruction and support of their students.
"The fact that somebody could object to a highly trained teacher exercising professional judgment to the benefit and improvement of a child's learning absolutely astounds me," says O'Dwyer.
To read the MoU and OECTA's position on student diagnostic assessment and fair hiring practices, visit www.oecta.on.ca
OECTA represents the 45,000 professional women and men who teach all grades in publicly funded English Catholic schools in Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association
For further information:
President, Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association