Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Irrelevance of EQAO (and Standardized Testing in General)

In response to a comment about a Toronto Star article on the EQAO cancellations,


a Toronto Star reader named justobserving wrote the following comment:

Rank 85

Seems these silly servant unionists have won again. The only way we can determine if a teacher is doing a job is by testing the students. Now any bimbo can teach.

I decided that, after reading this comment and other ignorant, sexist comments that bash unions and teachers (and women) without any justification or thought, I had to say something. This was my response (you will be able to tell very quickly I do NOT believe in EQAO or standardized testing for the reasons below. Cutting EQAO is where the government should find its savings, not raising class sizes and such):

@justobserving ...except that EQAO doesn't determine if a teacher is doing a good job. They don't tell anyone anything useful because:

1. ESL and students with any special needs are counted in the results as much as any other student, which really skews results.

2. Students who miss the test or refuse to write it count for a zero, which lowers a school's average.

3. Writing tests for 3 days in a row in a room where a teacher is not allowed to give any help or answer questions AT ALL is not an environment many can succeed in.

4. Many questions are ridiculous and most adults would struggle answering them.

5. There are many different types of students and many do not respond well to the pressure of a giant test like this. Students success can not be measured by one set of snapshot numbers, as they don't see trends over time.

6. Students in well-off neighbourhoods always do better on the test because they have more access to tutors, books, internet and other resources at home. Students in poorer neighbourhoods never do as well because they don't have the extra resources. The results are predictable.

     Also, EQAO is not part of the Ontario curriculum, it is a ministry initiative, so teachers are not contractually obligated to administer it. And the questions cover curriculum from grade 1-6 in grade 6 for example, so how can you judge one teacher on the results?

     Finally, not any "bimbo" can teach. We get regular performance evaluations like any other job and are scrutinized by principals, parents and students on a daily basis. Oh, and we have to have at least 2 degrees and years of experience to become a teacher in Ontario. Would you like to step into my classroom and try teaching my class for a week and see if "any bimbo" without training can do a good job at it?

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