Province to move to online standardized testing

(Photo courtesy of shinealigth via Flickr.)

Standardized testing could be coming soon to a computer near you.

The Ontario Ministry of Education announced on Wednesday that the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) will hire a company to develop an online testing platform. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the change will help the EQAO modernize its approach to assessment and put more of a focus on student achievement.

“The world is changing rapidly, and our students are learning in more technology-driven environments,” said 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.”

The concept will be introduced during this school year. EQAO will field-test online assessments in grade-nine mathematics. The test will enable students to become familiar with the online format. Parliamentary assistant Sam Oosterhoff, the MPP for Niagara West, said educators must adapt for the future.

“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,” said Oosterhoff.

The provincial government launched last year a four-year strategy of improving math fundamentals. This school year, there will be no EQAO testing for grade-three and grade-six students so that EQAO can sync its assessment technique with the new elementary math curriculum.