More in­ves­ti­ga­tion needed on EQAO

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION - RE: ‘I’m not a math per­son’ (June 24)

I found Joanna Frketich’s ar­ti­cle on de­clin­ing EQAO math re­sults very in­ter­est­ing, but also very dis­turb­ing. Un­for­tu­nately it will leave too many read­ers with the im­pres­sion that there are “good” schools and “bad” schools based solely on the test scores. How­ever, there are many fac­tors which will ex­plain the ma­jor­ity of the dif­fer­ences. It will be un­con­scionable if The Spec­ta­tor does not do a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion into fac­tors which af­fect scores. Based on The Spec­ta­tor’s su­perb his­tory of in­ves­tiga­tive re­port­ing, I be­lieve The Spec­ta­tor could make a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to ex­plain the vast dif­fer­ences in scores and make sug­ges­tions on how to im­prove school re­sults. The ma­jor theme of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion could be to de­ter­mine what can be done to save many chil­dren in the “bad” schools from work­ing in un­skilled jobs and a life of poverty.

When EQAO scores are re­ported, they are re­ported as­sum­ing all stu­dent pop­u­la­tions are equiv­a­lent. It is too sim­plis­tic to la­bel a school “good” or “bad” based on test re­sults. The scores are a symp­tom and not a cause. This would be equiv­a­lent to a doctor tak­ing your tem­per­a­ture and then telling you are well, a lit­tle sick or deathly sick and then send­ing you on your way with­out a proper di­ag­no­sis.

The ar­ti­cle does prove that the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s plan to use the EQAO re­sults as an in­cen­tive for con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment is a com­plete fail­ure. The min­istry pub­lishes a 40-page doc­u­ment on EQAO re­sults for ev­ery school which sim­ply buries the reader in a mas­sive amount of data with no at­tempt to in­ter­pret the data. Larry Ham­bly, Burling­ton

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