Earlier this week, I suggested that, in Ontario at least, there should be a moratorium on EQAO testing. I also suggested that there were alternatives to EQAO. One such alternative is the Canadian Test of Basic Skills. Known simply as CTBS, they have been around an awful lot longer than any EQAO test as I was administering the series every year from 1972 until the mid 1980s — in several subject areas including literacy and math. The good news is that a Google search indicates they are still available from Nelson. Estimates are that the EQAO costs Ontario taxpayers between $50 and $100 million a year. The CTBS would be a fraction of that. So, if it is accountability and value for money people want …..
Update Thursday, September 23rd: I notice that my friends at Society for Quality Education would disagree with my recommendation for a moratorium on standardized testing until a full review is done on the process. In fact, it is most unfortunate, but what I see at SQE is a knee-jerk reaction against teachers, that if they “cheated” they should be fired.
Yes, I am a former teacher. But, at times I have been very critical on this blog of my fellow professionals. However, in this case, my reaction has more to do with the fact that I am also a former researcher. Stats and rankings can be manipulated and frankly, once the rankings come out, the students are completely forgotten.
If people see the school rankings as a form of public accountability, they have not asked themselves how they show accountability when only two subjects are being tested and those two subjects in a very limited way. In fact, if all we want is a snapshot that shows what children and youth know or don’t know in a very limited time frame, then randomized testing would make more sense.