'Every child is different': the way Ontario students are tested is up for discussion

People in Sudbury had the chance to weigh in on education assessment in Ontario at a public meeting hosted by the Ministry of Education on Thursday.

Ministry of Education gathering public feedback on tests like the EQAO

The Ministry of Education held a public meeting in Sudbury looking for input on how to improve student assessments, like the EQAO test. (Tom Woodward/Flickr Creative Commons)

People in Sudbury had the chance to weigh-in on education assessment in Ontario at a public meeting hosted by the Ministry of Education on Thursday.

The Ministry is doing a review of student assessment practices, including the EQAO test, as part of a larger plan to modernize the school curriculum.

Seven public meetings are being held across the province to gather feedback for a report that will be presented to the province in March. 

In September, Premier Kathleen Wynne appointed six education advisors to lead the review process. The announcement came just after the release of last year's standardized EQAO scores, which showed a continuing decline in math scores for students in Grade 6.

"We are really in a space in Ontario where the needs of education have really changed a lot from the olden days of needing reading, writing, arithmetic to really having students be able to think for themselves, to be able to be problem solvers and collaborators," said Jean Clinton, one the advisors leading the meeting in Sudbury.

Jean Clinton is one of six Education Advisors appointed by the Premier to lead the public consultation sessions. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

Clinton said the province needs to refresh how it approaches education so that assessment tools like the EQAO test better reflect the needs and goals of students.

Putting the needs of students first

For Miranda McColeman, one of the people who attended the meeting in Sudbury, it's important to put the needs of students first.

Growing up, McColeman said she was labelled a poor student even though she performed well academically.

"I was the type of child who would do an essay in one day, and it maybe would take my class a week or two," she said.

"So I wouldn't go to school after it was done because to me, I would go to school to learn, and I wasn't really learning anything."

Miranda McColeman says the current assessment system is archaic, and doesn't work for students who learn in different ways. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

McColeman said every child is different, and needs to be assessed in a different way.

"It means a lot coming here today, just to speak for the kids that maybe have a different way of thinking, and to show the Ministry that it's okay for kids to have a different method of thinking."