EQAO Digitalization and Modernization

Digitalization and Modernization at EQAO

Transforming large-scale assessments to improve student learning

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Who We Serve and What We Do

Supporting student learning is our driving force

  • EQAO is a board-governed agency of the Ministry of Education that supports student learning and public accountability in Ontario’s education system by assessing all students at key stages of their educational journey.
  • EQAO offers independent data in relation to the learning expectations outlined in The Ontario Curriculum.
  • EQAO is committed to anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion throughout its work.

EQAO’s data are an important indicator of student learning that add to the available knowledge about how Ontario students are doing, and help Ontario’s education sector with improving student achievement and well-being at the individual, school, school board and provincial levels. The agency supports parents and guardians, policymakers, other Ontarians and the education community at large in understanding, analyzing and appropriately using its data for improvement. The agency continually strives to enhance its high-quality large-scale assessment program.

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Why Modernize and Digitalize

Our new online assessments reflect today’s student experiences

  • Modernization allows the agency to continue to be responsive to the needs of the province on matters of education quality and accountability—now and for years to come.
  • The agency’s goal is to allow all students who take its assessments to demonstrate their understanding of the curriculum fully.
  • EQAO strives for continuous improvement on its journey to support positive student outcomes.

EQAO’s online curriculum-based student assessment program consists of

  • the primary- and junior-division reading, writing and mathematics assessments administered to Grades 3 and 6 students, respectively,
  • the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics, and
  • the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), administered to Grade 10 students.
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Modernization and Digitalization at EQAO

Digitalizing EQAO assessments benefits everyone

  • Modernization at EQAO is a multi-faceted and multi-year initiative that focuses on five distinct areas.
  • Part of modernizing EQAO’s operations and outlook means digitalizing the agency’s large-scale assessment program.
  • The development and administrations of digital assessments became a reality during the 2020–2021 school year: the agency field tested online assessments to allow students and educators to become familiar with the new testing model.
EQAO’s modernization enables responsiveness to the needs of the province on matters of education quality and accountability. The agency aims to provide evidence-informed insights into student learning to facilitate the success of Ontario students. EQAO’s Modernization is a multi-faceted and multi-year initiative that focuses on five distinct areas:
    • large‐scale assessments,
    • reporting of results,
    • research,
    • engagement with Ontarians, and
    • supporting equity, diversity and inclusion in education.

EQAO’s Online Assessments

Part of modernizing EQAO’s operations and outlook means digitalizing its large-scale assessment program. Digitalized large-scale assessments present several benefits over paper-based testing. EQAO’s digitalized assessments
  • will continue to ensure students are at the centre of large-scale assessment and that the assessments are aligned with their education experience, including continued alignment with The Ontario Curriculum.
  • increase flexibility in assessment administration throughout the school year and offer timely feedback to parents and guardians and educators on how students are doing.
  • address accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion more effectively.
  • incorporate digital tools, including accommodations, in their toolbar and menu to facilitate engagement for individuals taking the test.

EQAO continuously strives to enhance its high-quality large-scale assessment program to ensure it is equitable, inclusive and reflective of Ontario’s diversity, so that all students can demonstrate their understanding of the provincial curriculum.

EQAO’s Online Field Tests

During the 2020–2021 school year, EQAO administered its new online large-scale assessments in the form of field tests to allow students and educators to become familiar with the new testing model, and to support the validation and continued development of the digital platform. The field test reports consist of feedback from education stakeholders, and a description of the steps taken by the agency to ensure technical readiness and stakeholder awareness of EQAO’s new online model.
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Collaborating to Improve Student Outcomes

Stakeholder engagement enhances our Modernization

  • To shift to digital assessments successfully, collaboration is key and, as always, EQAO is committed to engaging directly with partners in the education sector and beyond.
  • EQAO acknowledges the need for thinking that employs expertise both internal and external to the agency and includes students’ perspective.
  • Several consultation groups and committees made up of external experts support EQAO’s digitalization.

Throughout its modernization efforts, the agency continues to acknowledge the need for thinking that employs expertise both internal and external to the agency and includes students’ perspective. Several consultation groups and committees made up of external experts support EQAO’s digitalization.

  • The Modernization in Measurement Advisory Panel makes sure the agency’s modernization initiative continues being effective through strong methodologies and analytics.
  • The EQAO Student Engagement Committee (formerly the EQAO Student Advisory Committee) promotes an open dialogue between Ontario’s students and the agency. EQAO wants students to always have their voices heard as it continues to modernize and develop its e-assessment platform.
  • The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee reviews the content of all EQAO assessments to ensure that the assessments are fair, equitable and inclusive so that all individuals who take the assessments can fully participate and demonstrate their understanding of curriculum expectations.

EQAO has a School Support and Outreach team that works in partnership with schools and school boards to assist them in developing professional learning programs that leverage EQAO’s latest research and data. The team also helps educators and administrators navigate the agency’s modernized assessments and their digital platform to support student success.

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EQAO’s Modernization Outlook

Always improving in support of student learning

  • EQAO envisions a future in which assessments reflect the lived experiences of all students.
  • Modernization places education experiences at the very centre of the assessment process.
  • Technology will be leveraged to assess students’ understanding of the curriculum and to provide timely feedback to students, parents and guardians and educators so that stakeholders are able to use all EQAO assessment data more effectively. 

The agency envisions a future in which assessments reflect the lived experiences of all students, a future where assessment data are continuously leveraged to align with students’ educational experience. As we move forward, EQAO’s modernization vision will enable the agency to fulfill its mandate of contributing to education quality and accountability more effectively.

EQAO is proud to be able to support student achievement in this new era along with the dedicated teachers, administrators, parents and guardians and other Ontarians who care about understanding how best to support positive outcomes for each student of the province today, and into the future.

Download a PDF version of “Digitalization and Modernization at EQAO“.

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