People will have a chance to publicly discuss the standardized EQAO testing used in schools across the province.

A teachers union is holding a public forum Wednesday night at the Ciociaro Club in Oldcastle.

The tests are administered to children in grades 3, 6, 9 and 10. They test students in reading, writing and math.

But the teachers federation believes the testing is a waste of money. It claims it costs $30 million annually to administer the tests.

"Well if you take a look at the scores, they bounce all over the place, and they're not reliable," claimed Mario Spagnuolo, of the teachers federation. "So our focus and our obsession over these tests is really taking away where the focus should be, and that's on the individual student."

But at the Greater Essex County District School Board, the superintendent of education says the testing is important.

"It has improved performance scores in terms of the curriculum expectations," said Clara Howitt, the superintendent of education.

Retired university professor, Mike Weis, believes there needs to be some sort of standardized testing. Still, he says he saw a decline in the literacy skills of graduates coming to him since the testing began.

"I've never seen spelling as bad and grammar as bad as I saw in the last few years of teaching," Weis said.

Kylie Myers is a local teacher. She says the testing does give teachers a snapshot of how they and students are doing.

"EQAO does help pose a picture of what the previous years' instructional strategy did in terms of meeting curriculum expectations because the test is being based on the curriculum expectations," she said.

The forum begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night and the teachers federation is welcoming people with all opinions.