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News Release

EQAO Publishes School- and Board-Level Results of Provincial Testing

September 17, 2009

Attention: News editors, education reporters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TORONTO, September 17, 2009—Today Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released the school- and board-level results for three of its assessments, as well as Ontario Student Achievement: EQAO’s Provincial Report on the Results of the 2008–2009 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Primary Division (Grades 1–3) and Junior Division (Grades 4–6), and the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics.

On August 26, EQAO released the provincial-level results, which showed steady improvement in all grades and subjects over the past five years and notable gains this year in Grade 6 reading and Grade 9 applied mathematics (see Table 1 in the backgrounder). With today’s release of assessment results at the school and board levels, communities across Ontario will be able to compare the progress of their own students and that of the province as a whole.

“School- and board-level results provide an essential foundation of data that parents, policy-makers and educators at the local level, in particular, rely on to gauge and plan for student progress,” said Dr. Brian Desbiens, Chair of EQAO’s Board of Directors. “The annual release of these results has been facilitating thoughtful reflection and deliberate action, which has led to measureable improvements in student learning all across the province.”

Provincial assessment results strengthen local accountability and encourage conversations between schools and families. Children have the most to gain when parents and guardians are active and informed regarding their child’s education. EQAO has developed six questions that parents and guardians should consider when reviewing their school’s report of results. These questions are currently available on EQAO’s Web site.

The Provincial Report also profiles 18 schools from across the province that are using provincial assessment results to support their own improvement planning. The profiled schools are at various stages in their own journey of learning but are representative of dedicated school communities that can be found right across Ontario. The schools are notable for their leadership, proactive initiatives, data-driven strategies and whole-school approaches to help every child succeed. These are schools that have adopted an action plan based on their unique circumstances and that work toward improved student outcomes.

“The value of the provincial assessments goes well beyond their snapshot of student achievement at one moment in time,” said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO’s Chief Executive Officer. “The true value emerges when the information is thoroughly integrated into planning at the local level to support effective teaching and learning. While EQAO is only one part of the assessment picture, it is an important one—and ultimately, it is the student that is at the centre of this picture.”

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For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact
Katia Collette
Communications Officer
416-212-7047
katia.collette@eqao.com

Backgrounder

Ontario Student Achievement Over Time
Table 1:
EQAO Assessment Component Percentage at Levels 3 and 4
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Gain over 5 years
Grade 3 Reading 59% 62% 62% 61% 61% +2
Grade 6 Reading 63% 64% 64% 66% 69% +6
Grade 3 Writing 61% 64% 64% 66% 68% +7
Grade 6 Writing 59% 61% 61% 67% 67% +8
Grade 3 Math 66% 68% 69% 68% 70% +4
Grade 6 Math 60% 61% 59% 61% 63% +3
Grade 9 Applied Math 27% 35% 35% 34% 38% +11
Grade 9 Academic Math 68% 71% 71% 75% 77% +9
About EQAO

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) was established in 1996 based on a recommendation of Ontario’s Royal Commission on Learning. The 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 was created as an independent agency to conduct the assessments and gather objective information from our schools.

EQAO plays an important role in Ontario education by conducting province-wide tests at key points in every student’s primary, junior and secondary education and by reporting the results. The tests measure student performance in reading, writing and mathematics based on the expectations set out in The Ontario Curriculum.

Results from EQAO testing are an important indicator of student learning and measure achievement in relation to a common provincial standard. The objective and reliable information gained through these assessments adds to the current knowledge about how Ontario students are doing and has become an important tool for improvement planning at the student, school, school board and provincial levels.

In the 2008–2009 school year, there were

  • 125 481 Grade 3 students in 3399 schools;
  • 136 076 Grade 6 students in 3216 schools;
  • 100 992 Grade 9 students in academic mathematics in 684 schools and
  • 48 482 Grade 9 students in applied mathematics in 715 schools.
The Provincial Standard

EQAO’s assessments are designed, administered and scored in partnership with Ontario’s educators to directly measure the expectations set out in The Ontario Curriculum. These assessments provide a uniform, non-biased evaluation of student learning in Ontario’s publicly funded education system. The provincial standard for achievement represents mastery of the knowledge and skills students are expected to demonstrate. That standard is rigorously maintained from year to year and the assessments are developed and scored in a way that ensures the results can be compared appropriately from one year to the next.

The four levels of achievement that EQAO uses to report student results are aligned with the four levels of achievement used by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education has established Level 3 as the provincial standard. The following are brief descriptions of the levels:

Achievement Level Definition
Level 4 Achievement exceeds the provincial standard
Level 3 Achievement meets the provincial standard
Level 2 Achievement approaches the provincial standard
Level 1 Achievement falls much below the provincial standard
Individual Student Results

Students who participated in assessments will receive an Individual Student Report (ISR) that shows the students’ achievement in relation to the provincial standard. The ISR for students who wrote the junior-division assessment will also show their results on the primary-division assessment if they wrote it in 2006.

All ISRs provide parents with a summary of school, board and provincial results.

ISRs will be in schools the week of September 21 in order to be sent home with students.

Testing the Curriculum

The provincial tests given at the end of the primary division (Grade 3) and the junior division (Grade 6) are based on the expectations in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8: Language (revised 2006) and The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8: Mathematics (revised 2005) outlining the knowledge and skills students should have acquired by the corresponding stages of their schooling.

EQAO assessments measure how well students have met the provincial expectations. For example, Grade 3 and Grade 6 students are assessed in

  • reading—using a variety of reading strategies and conventions, understanding concepts, making inferences and connecting ideas;
  • writing—using writing strategies and language conventions, understanding assigned tasks, organizing ideas and communicating with the reader, and
  • mathematics—demonstrating knowledge and skills in the five strands of mathematics: number sense and numeration; geometry and spatial sense; measurement; patterning and algebra; and data management and probability.

The Grade 9 mathematics test is based on the expectations for student knowledge and performance by the end of Grade 9 in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: Mathematics (revised 2005). The purpose of the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics is to assess the level at which students in the applied and academic mathematics courses are meeting Grade 9 curriculum expectations. Grade 9 academic and applied students must demonstrate knowledge and skills in the same three areas—number sense and algebra; linear relations; measurement and geometry—and academic students must also do so in analytic geometry.

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