Hamilton public school board cancels Grade 9 EQAO math test, citing job action

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has decided not to administer the Grade 9 EQAO math test, citing the ongoing job action between workers and the Ministry of Education.

Minister of Education says situation shows 'union disruption affecting students'

The HWDSB has decided not to administer the Grade 9 EQAO test, which was set to begin next week. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has decided not to administer the Grade 9 EQAO math test, citing the ongoing job action between teachers and the Ministry of Education.

The annual test was scheduled to be written over two weeks, starting next Monday and makes up a portion of the final mark each student earns in their math course.

But in a statement chair Alex Johnstone said "another method of evaluation suitable to the course content" will replace it.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce issued his own statement Wednesday, saying the test "provides valuable information" to students, families and the province about performance, adding it "should not be in jeopardy for our students."

Meanwhile, a Thursday-morning tweet from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, which represents teachers and education workers, targeted Lecce's statements about the test, saying they aren't the only way to weigh performance.

"Parents & students know that teachers' evaluations of student projects, conferences, classroom tests, group work, etc. provide a more accurate & complete assessment of student performance," it read in part.

In his statement, Lecce described the ongoing job action as "escalation" and called the situation a "clear example of union disruption affecting Ontario Students."

Boards were directed to make decisions about whether or not the test should proceed, according to Lecce.

"For those high schools which are not administering the test in January, students will need to take the test during the June 2020 administration period, as it provides a valuable opportunity for individual feedback for students and families."

On behalf of the HWDSB, Johnstone wrote trustees are urging the ministry to cancel the assessment in June as well.

"Grade 9 students in the second semester should be evaluated in the same manner as their peers from the first semester," she stated.

"We strongly encourage that all parties reach an agreement that's in the best interest of students."


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