Posted June 29, 2018 17:31:30A new day begins for kids in elementary and secondary schools across Canada, as the country begins its new school year with a series of exams.
“The most important thing for parents is to make sure their children are doing the right things at school,” said Elizabeth Kornfield, executive director of the National Education Association.
Kornfield said it was “critical” for schools to make their teachers available for assessments.
For the first time, schools will be required to administer the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a standardized test that assesses student achievement in math, reading and science.
It’s a big change, she said, but one that should be welcomed by parents.
This year’s assessment is due by July 15, and students in Grade 1 are expected to be tested by the end of June.
“It is not too early to start to assess what kind of curriculum is most appropriate for students in kindergarten,” said Karen Trew, executive vice-president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Association.
Kornfields advice is to have teachers available to administer assessments in grades one through eight, starting with grades one and two.
That means teachers are able to offer assessments and have students perform the tests on their own, rather than having a teacher assigned.
Kearney said students should also be encouraged to take the tests as part of their regular day-to-day learning.
“I would be surprised if teachers didn’t start to see some changes,” he said.
However, Trew said teachers are not expected to start administering the tests until August, as a safety precaution.
The Ontario government has committed to providing teachers with the tools to administer and grade the exams by July 20, but the new government has been criticized by some teachers for not doing enough to help teachers get access to the testing equipment and the ability to administer them.
Education Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement that he was confident that teachers are equipped and trained to administer all exams, but that “the province has not made any commitments to provide teachers with sufficient testing equipment or access to standardized tests”.
“I am confident that the province has the resources and tools in place to make it happen,” he added.
Trew said it is critical that teachers have access to testing equipment in order to do their jobs effectively.
“We need more testing equipment,” she said.
“Teachers are being asked to administer exams on their laptops.
Teachers are not going to be able to take that test on their cellphones.
It is a very challenging job.”
Kearneys assessment of what the education system needs to do to ensure it is delivering on its promise to provide a safe and effective learning environment will be released later this month.
As of June 30, Ontario’s schools were in the process of implementing the new education reform plan, which included several key changes, including the creation of new accountability systems for teachers and curriculum.