Ontario Moving to Standardized Online Testing for Students
Modernized platform will help prepare kids for the future
September 23, 2020
TORONTO – The Ontario government is proposing to modernize large-scale provincial student testing to better prepare youth for the future, and re-build parent confidence in the education system. The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), which creates and administers assessments, will procure a firm to develop an online, adaptive testing platform.
“The world is changing rapidly, and our students are learning in more technology-driven environments,” said Education Minister, Stephen Lecce. “That’s why we also need to modernize and enhance the way we assess student learning. By moving to digital testing, we will have a more efficient and accountable large-scale student assessment system that students, parents, and educators can depend on – one that ensures students are ready for the jobs of the future.”
Today, EQAO launched the request-for-bids process in an effort to source the expertise required to develop an online testing solution. This change will allow the agency to modernize its approach to assessment and data collection to be more nimble, effective and focused on student achievement.
For the 2020-21 school year, EQAO will be field-testing online and adaptive assessments for Grade 9 math. This field test will provide an opportunity for students to try this new format and will support the continued development of the assessment platform.
“Today’s announcement is another way our government is demonstrating our commitment to prepare students for the future,” said Parliamentary Assistant, Sam Oosterhoff. “Modernizing large-scale student assessment is an essential step in ensuring Ontario students are equipped with the skills they will need for the modern world.”
This online, adaptive testing platform will increase responsiveness to student learning needs and support student mental health and well-being by helping to make testing less stressful. Changes would ensure testing accessibility for students with special education needs, increase equity for different student populations, including Francophone, Black and Indigenous students by ensuring cultural relevancy, and provide faster results that teachers can discuss with parents right away.
- In 2019, Ontario launched a four-year math strategy to ensure students have a strong understanding of math fundamentals and how to apply them. This strategy will improve student math performance, help students solve everyday math problems and increase students’ employability for the jobs of tomorrow.
- For the 2020-21 school year, Grade 3 and 6 students will not participate in EQAO assessments as EQAO aligns the assessments with the new elementary Math curriculum.
- A formal RFB has been launched by EQAO on Ontario Tenders Portal, JAGGAER.
- A contract will be granted to the vendor through a transparent and competitive procurement process.
- The ministry is working with school boards through the Broadband Modernization Program to deliver access to reliable, fast, secure and affordable internet services for all Ontario students and educators. As of August 31, 2020, broadband modernization has been completed at 2,475 schools, including 842 rural schools and 475 northern schools. Work is currently in progress at 2,462 schools, including 251 rural schools and 26 northern schools.