Ontario Teachers Urged to Withdraw Own Children From Standardised Tests

For thee, not for me, ect:

The union representing Ontario’s elementary school teachers is encouraging its members to request that their own children not participate in standardized testing.

A memo sent to public elementary school teachers this month outlines how educators can request their children in Grades 3 and 6 withdraw from the provincial test.

The move by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is symbolic, because all students in publicly funded schools are legally required to participate in the provincial reading, writing and math assessments. There are few exemptions; special accommodations are sometimes made for students with special needs or English-as-a-second-language students.

Students in Grades 3 and 6 will take the test between May 25 and June 8, administered by the province’s Education Quality and Accountability Office. The provincial testing body also conducts a Grade 9 math assessment and a high-school literacy test.

“The Federation views province-wide testing of every student in the primary and junior divisions and Grades 9 and 10 as both a misuse of student time, and an ineffective use of funds that should be redirected to support students’ learning,” the ETFO memo stated.

“It is ETFO’s position that teachers’ ongoing daily assessment is far more meaningful and efficient for students and parents.”

ETFO president Sam Hammond said on Sunday that his union has advocated for random sample testing, rather than assessing all students.

“Our members know that the ongoing daily assessment that they do in their classrooms is far more meaningful and important,” he said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Liz Sandals said on Sunday that the provincial tests allow the government and school boards to improve programs, better allocate resources and pinpoint curriculum areas that need attention.

“EQAO’s provincial tests provide the Ministry and our school boards with information they need to target investments where they are needed most,” Nicole McInerney said in a statement.

Standardized testing has been the subject of much debate in Ontario and internationally. Teachers are particularly opposed to testing, which they argue does not promote learning and undermines their professionalism.


Standardised testing is a more complicated issue than simply concluding that most teachers are trying to cover their @$$es (which most are). Any test captures a snapshot in a student’s academic life. It may reflect any number of things: poor teaching, poor standards, poor student ability, poor parenting or poor timing of a test. What I don’t buy is the argument that standardised tests undermine the professionalism of teachers’ union that can move elections.

  • Ed

    As the co-parent of these teachers’ kids I disagree emphatically.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      I had to re-read your post… TWICE.
      Well played good sir!
      That or you wrote that in earnest and you are utterly certified.

      • Ed

        I have a drivers license!

  • Jaedo Drax

    You can’t fix whats wrong if you don’t measure it, and the standardized tests have the advantage of being impartial, and neutral, whereas the day to day ‘assessments’ won’t be neutral.

    Given that the report cards that the ministry has created are pretty much useless, the tests can give an overall snapshot of what is going on.

    • The entire system needs an overhaul. If a kid can learn something off of an educational video on Youtube, how many more nephews of superintendents do we need?

      We also need to focus on parents and students. There are good teachers out there but what does one do if the kid doesn’t do his homework and his parents indulge him?

      What does one do if the parents care but the teachers don’t?

      What do you with gifted and no-so-gifted kids?

      Do we have time to talk about Common Core?

      I’ve tested students who didn’t pay attention in class but passed the tests. I’ve also tested students whose classwork was great but test scores were not. I’ve tested students that fell anywhere in between.

      We need tests but how much emphasis can we put on ONE test as opposed to regular tests or ability?

      Again, this is a complicated topic.

      What is clear is how some union schlubs try to cover their anatomy.

      • Clausewitz

        It usually takes one parent teacher interview to understand why my problem students are problems. That of course is if they actually show up.

  • passerby1969

    My son tells me he is going to write the number 10 on each page of the test. “Why should I care about a test that has no repercussions for me? The test is for the teachers and the school.” It’s hard to argue with that logic, given that this test does not affect his grades, his academic placement, nor will he even get the results for months.

    • Clausewitz

      So you want the educational system to just continue on as it has for the past 15 years? Just follow that philosophy.

      • passerby1969

        No. If the test is there to test the system, then EQAO should do random tests on only a sample of schools. There is no need to test every student. It’s expensive and does not yield much in the way of better information. The money saved could be better spent in classrooms. It’s the pov of ETFO and I agree with them.

        There is a standardized test teachers could give and mark it themselves (or trade off with another teacher from the school). It’s much cheaper. It’s called the Canadian test of basic skills. That mark should be going straight on the report card of students and would be more meaningful for kids. https://www.testingmom.com/ppc/practice-for-the-ctbs-test-canadian-test-of-basic-skills/

  • Clausewitz

    One of the major forms of teaching is to “Teach, test, re-teach”. I think the idiots in the union who think they have control over the curriculum are missing some glaring fine points about that philosophy.

  • Jay Currie

    At our (home school) house we do standardised test for fun on a rainy afternoon. I almost always win.

  • marty_p

    We can’t have standardized tests, after all, it might indicate that some kids from certain parts of the world can’t read or write or add 2+2 and that’s Islamaphobic and/or racist.

  • Mike Williams

    I fine with dropping standardized testing of students…as long as they start standardized testing for the teachers.