Education Quality and Accountability Office


Education Quality and Accountability Office

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) is an advisory board legislated into creationref|legislated in 1996 by the Government of Ontario, Canada in response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Learning in February 1995.ref|history The board's initial duties were to advise the Minister of Education and Training on elementary and secondary education assessment programs.

Initially established as a seven-member advisory board, the EQAO is required to have between seven and nine board members, including a "chair", currently Dr. Brian L. Desbiens. The EQAO has a $15 million annual budget to conduct its operations.

Mandate

The responsibilities of the Office include:

* develop tests for both French- and English-language students,
* administer the tests, in co-operation with school boards,
* evaluate test results,
* manage Ontario's participation in national and international tests,
* assess the effectiveness of the system via qualitative and quantitative measures,
* make recommendations to the Government of Ontario to improve education quality,
* report aggregate test results and system practices to the public.

The EQAO issues province-wide standardized tests annually. Students attending Ontario education facilities are required to take the respective tests at their grade level.

* Grade 3: reading, writing and mathematics testing, beginning in 1996;
* Grade 6: reading, writing and mathematics testing, beginning in 1996;
* Grade 9: mathematics testing; and
* Grade 10: reading and writing testing (known as the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test).

Criticisms

The establishment of the EQAO, and in particular standardized testing throughout Ontario, has been criticized by a number of groups. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) has frequently questioned the need for standardized testing; a press release issued in March 2005, after the hiring of Pascal as the EQAO chair, conveyed this position. ref|criticism

The Office publishes little technical information about its tests, and its staff tends to be drawn from the provincial education establishment. For example , former chair Charles Pascal, is a former deputy minister of education. The Office's impartiality is routinely questioned each time it issues test results which might be taken as reflecting well on the provincial government.

References

# [http://www.canlii.org/on/laws/sta/1996c.11/20050211/whole.html Canadian Legal Information Institute: Education Quality and Accountability Office Act, 1996]
# [http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/nr/95.11/eqa-bcgr.html Government of Ontario - Ministry of Education: The Education Quality and Accountability Office]
# [http://www.eqao.com/01e/1_5e.aspx Education Quality and Accountability Office - About EQAO: Chair of the EQAO Board of Directors]
# [http://www.osstf.on.ca/www/pub/pressrel/sept04_aug05/mar10-405.htm Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation: New chair for Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) – but same old testing story]

External links

* [http://www.eqao.com/categories/home_e.aspx Education Quality and Accountability Office website]


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