While grade three and six students have been tested by the Education Quality and Accountability Office for several years now, 10th-graders across Ontario were tested on their reading and writing skills last week—marking the start of a new requirement for graduation.
This year’s test won’t count toward graduation but it will be a diploma requirement for those entering grade 10 beginning next year, and the Rainy River District School Board is taking it seriously.
“Although our mandate was really only up to grade eight, we were at the high school helping out,” said Maureen Ricard, who serves with Penny Newman as the board’s literacy co-ordinators.
“And when the reports of grade 10 results come in January, we’ll sit down with the teachers and look at the answers, and analyze the results to plan for next year,” she added.
The tests were written last Wednesday and Thursday mornings over two-and-a-half hour periods, with a short break in-between.
Meanwhile, Ricard and Newman will keep busy working with teachers and principals who only recently got back grade three and six test results from last May.
“We’re in two or three of the schools right now getting teachers acquainted with exemplars,” noted Ricard. “It gives teachers a better example of how questions will be asked, and what will be asked of students, so they can better prepare.
“And in April, I will give training to grade three and six teachers to administer the EQAO tests themselves [next May],” she added.
While results of how grade 10 students here did won’t be out until January, those for the grades three and six testing done this past May will be compiled and reported at a future school board meeting.
In the past three years the testing has been done, Ricard said district scores have been in line with the provincial standard, with some schools exceeding that.
But the board has striven to exceed the average through extra effort, such as hiring on literacy co-ordinators.
“You always want the majority of students to be at level three [the current provincial standard],” Ricard said. “But at the same time, we’re always shooting for level four.”
And the EQAO is expected to test more grade levels down the road. The first will be ninth-graders, who will take a standardized math test in January.