The Current

Ontario teachers refuse to give EQAO test as work-to-rule action

Increasingly school districts in the U.S. are opting out of standardized tests and a work-to-rule campaign by Ontario public school teachers has made this year's standardized tests part of the fall out. Today. we are examining exams and questioning standard thinking.
Are standardized tests the best way to measure student success? (Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)
We've had many parents call us and say thank you for not doing EQAO and putting my Grade 3 child through that stress. And in fact, the EQAO, what does that really do? The Ministry is politically very interested in it, and cynically real estate agents are interested in it.-  John Smith, President of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto

Last week, Ontario's Education Quality and Accountability Office announced that province-wide standardized tests, the EQAO, have been postponed indefinitely for nearly 200,000 students in Grades 3 and 6. They're postponed because elementary teachers in the English public school system across Ontario have refused to administer the tests as part of a work-to-rule action in their dispute with the province.

But while students and parents may be breathing a sigh of relief, proponents of standardized testing say valuable information will be lost.

Standardized tests have become a flashpoint across North America, fuelling heated debates among parents, educators and researchers. In the United States, tens of thousands of students in several states — including New York, New Jersey, Florida and Colorado — are opting out of federally mandated standardized tests this spring, arguing the regime has become too rigid for teachers and pupils alike.

  • Annie Kidder is the Executive Director of People for Education, an independent group focused on education policy in Ontario. She was in Toronto.
  • Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator and Visiting Professor of Practice in Education at Harvard. He's also the author of "Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland." He was in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Are you a parent who feels EQAO tests should not be administered? Or are you in favour of the tests? Share your thoughts with us.

Tweet us @TheCurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook. Or email us through our website.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino, Natalie Walters and Julian Uzielli. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Standardized Testing