Consistency and Fairness
In order to ensure that the assessment is administered consistently and fairly, EQAO publishes guides for schools to follow. The guides outline in detail what is expected of educators involved in the administration of the assessment, including
- professional responsibilities for the administration of the assessment;
- steps to follow (e.g., procedures for the preparation of materials for distribution to students, the administration and the return of materials to EQAO) and
- accommodations for students with special education needs and special provisions for English language learners.
During the assessment, students must work independently to answer the multiple-choice and open-response questions in a quiet environment supervised by teachers trained to administer the assessment.
Quality assurance procedures help to ensure that the assessment produces valid and reliable data. EQAO follows a number of procedures that ensure parents, educators, students and the public can have confidence in the reliability and validity of the data the agency reports. These include
- quality-assurance monitoring: EQAO contracts quality-assurance monitors to visit a random sample of schools and observe the administration of the assessment.
- database analysis: EQAO conducts two types of statistical analysis of student-response data. The first identifies student-response patterns that suggest collusion among two or more students. The second examines overall patterns in school results and the proportion of students succeeding over time.
Actions that breach EQAO assessment-administration procedures and assessment security may affect question and student-response validity. EQAO will release individual student, school or board achievement results only if it is confident in the quality and integrity of the data. When EQAO has reason to believe that the integrity of the data has been compromised, the school and/or board administration will be asked for additional information. If the additional information suggests that further action is required, the school and/or board may be required to investigate. If irregularities in assessment administration or breaches of assessment security are confirmed by the investigation at the local level, one or more of the following actions may be taken:
- The reporting of the assessment results may be delayed until a full investigation has been completed.
- Individual student, school and board results may be withheld.
- The violation may be reported to the school community, school board or the Ontario College of Teachers.
Examples of actions that breach EQAO assessment-administration procedures and test security include but are not limited to
- opening and reviewing the assessment packages before the administration of the first session;
- coaching students during the assessment, including interpreting, explaining or paraphrasing the questions; remarking on the quality or quantity of student responses; returning student responses and indicating that the student should rethink or change an answer and
- failure to follow the detailed steps in the Administration and Accommodations Guide.
Student Participation, Absences and Lateness
Ensure that all students working toward an applied or academic Grade 9 mathematics credit are accounted for (regardless of whether they have participated in a previous administration), including those who are English language learners as defined by English Language Learners: ESL and ELD Programs and Services: Policies and Procedures for Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (2007) and those with special education needs.
Do not include
- students enrolled in a locally developed Grade 9 mathematics course or mathematics credit recovery program.
- students enrolled in a co-op course associated with Grade 9 mathematics who have previously passed the Grade 9 academic or applied mathematics course.
If students are absent during the assessment, teachers should have these students complete the assessment when they return, if this is possible while the assessment booklets are in the school and within the assessment period. Teachers may use the Class Tracking Sheet to keep track of the booklets that students have completed. EQAO will deem a student absent if there is no work in at least one booklet.
If a student changes schools during the assessment, the school should return all of the student’s materials to EQAO.
If a student is late for class, teachers should have the student begin the assessment when he or she arrives. If possible, allow late students the full time allotted to write each booklet.
In case of an emergency, tell the students to leave all assessment materials on their desks and to exit immediately according to the school emergency exit plan. When the students return, instruct them to return to the assessment.
In the case of a teacher’s absence, another teacher, supervised by the principal, may administer the assessment. This teacher must be familiar with the administration procedures and must follow them. He or she must be provided with a copy of the Administration and Accommodation Guide and must follow the detailed steps in it. The teacher must have the opportunity to have the procedures clarified.
Marking of Student Work by Classroom Teachers
All or some components of the assessment may be marked on completion of the assessment and prior to the return of materials to EQAO.
- Marks may be used only according to Ministry of Education guidelines.
- The marking methodology is a school or board decision.
- All assessment materials must remain in the school at all times, even during marking.
- Marks must not be made on students’ work.
- Student work must not be copied.
- All materials in the teacher package must be returned to EQAO with the rest of the assessment material. Teachers should record answers for the questions they are marking in these booklets.
- Any materials generated during marking that include references to the content of the questions must also be returned to EQAO.
Embedded Field-Test Materials
Field-test questions are embedded in the student booklets. Students will have different versions of these embedded questions. These questions will not be included in the students’ scores. However, it is important that students give them the same effort they give the other parts of the assessment.
EQAO Policy on the Duty to Report Child Abuse
Under provincial law, persons dealing with children, including teachers, teaching assistants and principals, have a duty to report suspicions of child abuse to the Children’s Aid Society. According to the Child and Family Services Act, the duty to report also applies where there are reasonable grounds to suspect patterns of child neglect.
If a teacher, teaching assistant, non-teaching staff member, principal or person working as a scribe has reasonable grounds to suspect child abuse or neglect, he or she is obligated to report the suspicion and the information on which it is based directly to the Children’s Aid Society. When reporting to the Children’s Aid Society, send only the student’s writing linked to the suspicion of abuse or neglect. Notify EQAO at 1-888-327-7377 at the same time, indicating which portion of the assessment is in question. Do not send the Children’s Aid Society any part of the preprinted assessment. If they require more information, they will contact EQAO.
EQAO has procedures in place to facilitate scorers’ reporting of suspicions of child abuse.
EQAO Policy on Offensive Language
Student work that contains offensive (e.g., obscene or racist) language or graphic depictions will be reported to the student’s principal, so that appropriate action can be taken at the school level. Pages with offensive content may not be scored.
French Immersion Students Studying Mathematics in French
Students will write the English-language assessment in English. An English/French and French/English glossary of mathematics terms will be provided.
Reporting to Students and Parents
In the fall, EQAO will provide an Individual Student Report (ISR) for each student. The ISR will indicate overall levels of achievement in mathematics. Samples of student work will be available on the EQAO Web site to assist in the interpretation of reports. Each district school board or school authority will receive school, board and provincial results. EQAO will report on student achievement in the province and in school boards in the Provincial Report.
Request for a Student to Write at an Alternative Location
A principal may request permission for a student to write the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics at an alternative location when there are extenuating circumstances resulting in the student’s inability to write at the school at which he or she is registered (e.g., expulsion, illness). The request for approval should be submitted to EQAO six weeks, if possible, prior to the administration of the assessment. (The required form, “Request for Approval to Administer the Assessment at an Alternative Location,” is located on the secure section of the EQAO Web site.)