Saturday, April 17, 2010

More time on teaching

Interesting article from the Windsor Star, written by MARIO SPAGNUOLO, first vice-president, Greater Essex Elementary Teachers.
This came from the "Numeracy in the News" feed in the sidebar. Try to have a look at those links, as they refresh from time to time.

Please have a read... click on the link below.

More time on teaching

or read it here:

More time on teaching

Re: Refocus funding on students, not standardized tests.

Teachers are committed to helping every child succeed. However, there are reservations about provincial standardized tests like the EQAO.

A standardized test by itself does not improve learning. Children learn by thinking, exploring, investigating and researching.

Teachers assess students through journals, portfolios, tests and quizzes, oral and written reports, projects, experiments and authentic tasks.

Time spent on EQAO tests means less time for teaching and learning. Provincial standardized tests are not used for report card marks.

Yet, they take so much time and effort away from instructional time.

Children have a unique learning style. Only teachers, not a single assessment, can best report on this.

Standardized testing costs millions of dollars which could be better used in classrooms. The EQAO annual budget is over $30 million, the equivalent of 800 new teachers.

The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, another bureaucracy, has an annual budget of approximately $70 million. This money would be better used in schools, by reducing class sizes, especially those in grades four through eight.

Would you rather have students in classes of 35 or 25? Specialized teachers in the arts, physical education, and design and technology or a standardized test in grade three and six? Teacher-librarians or EQAO?

It is time Ontario join other jurisdictions, like Manitoba, New Brunswick, England and Scotland, who have either eliminated or are contemplating eliminating standardized testing. In fact, Finland, the country that consistently reports among the highest levels in student achievement, has rejected national standardized assessments, in favour of teacher assessments, saving itself millions of dollars each year.

By scrapping these standardized tests, the McGuinty Liberals would stop the demoralizing practice of ranking schools. Most importantly, the government would put students first, not EQAO test results.

MARIO SPAGNUOLO, first vice-president, Greater Essex Elementary Teachers

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