With the release of Primary and Junior EQAO results earlier this week, we have much to celebrate and a few things to continue pondering. In our continued quest to support high levels of student achievement and engagement, we can confidently say we are making great progress overall. Our grade 3 literacy results are our second best ever, and our grade 6 literacy results are, in fact, our very best ever.  We continue to show signs of an imbalance in our math scores, with both primary and junior scores not meeting our expectations.

I’ve often said that the results garner significant public attention for a short period of time, most notably when they are released, and there are a number of media stories circulating about the achievement of various school boards and schools themselves.  For us, however, the conversation is more than short term.  We use the results from standardized testing alongside ongoing classroom assessment to better understand our students and their greatest areas of need.  We use the information to help us determine our focus for professional learning activities for our staff at the school and system level so we are helping our staff further develop their own skills in teaching as well as assessment and evaluation of our students and their work.  We take the results into consideration when we plan for resources and activities for our students as well as the actions we will undertake as part of our annual Strategic Directions action plan. Most importantly, we use EQAO results as a tool for improvement.

As a parent and an educator, I’m often asked how I feel about the assessments.  Having two children who have both participated in the primary and junior assessment and a grade nine student who will be expected to do the math assessment this year, I often remark that it’s about balance for me.   I remind people that it’s important to remember that standardized assessments are a snapshot in time.  I value that snapshot, but I also value the ongoing assessment and evaluation that takes place every day in our classrooms to help us completely understand how students are achieving.  While there will be many opinions offered about kids and their progress when the results are released, the best indicator for us must always be based on observations and assessments that teachers and support staff make on a daily basis.

 

Larry Hope
Director of Education