PROVINCE-WIDE ASSESSMENTS: Reliable testing to a consistent standard

    TORONTO, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - The Education Quality and Accountability Office
issues this release in response to incorrect information being reported and
claims that its tests have been made easier or standards have been lowered
over the years.
    "Any suggestion that the testing has been manipulated to improve results
is not only false but it's a disservice to the thousands of dedicated and
committed Ontario educators who have worked so hard to address the learning
needs of their students," said Charles E. Pascal, Chair of EQAO's Board of
Directors. "If there was even an attempt to compromise the independence of
EQAO by the government, I would resign on the spot."
    Every year, over 3000 Ontario educators play a central role in EQAO
testing by participating in test development, question review and selection
and scoring. Each year's test is built according to a standard framework
linked directly to curriculum expectations. Tests maintain the same level of
difficulty and are scored using a consistent marking scheme. Periodic changes
to the tests only serve to improve their reliability and validity, as
confirmed by an independent panel of internationally renowned experts in the
field of large-scale assessment. When calculators are used, it's in complete
accordance with the expectations in The Ontario Curriculum.
    "An independent and external review of EQAO's work recently concluded
that this agency has created 'world class' educational assessment programs,"
stated Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer. "Ontarians can be
confident these test results are a true, unbiased reflection of actual student
achievement according to a consistent, high standard."
    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.

For further information:

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

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Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)

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