This will be my eighth year in a row administering the Grade 3 assessment, and last night I was back on CHEX Daily with Teresa Kaszuba to give parents all the information they need to know about EQAO, including:
- What is tested
- How parents and kids can learn more and see past test questions, with sample responses and scoring guides
- The best way for students to prepare for the tests
- What my biggest pet peeve is at EQAO time (it's a parents-on-Twitter thing!)
Some points from my notes that we didn't have time for in the segment (yes, I'm always overprepared, even though I've been doing this TV thing for almost two years now!):
- Tests are written and marked by Ontario teachers
- Students with special needs can receive many of the same accommodations for EQAO as they do for regular classroom assessments (e.g,, scribing, use of a computer for word processing, and use of text-to-speech software which reads to them)
- Elementary EQAO scores do not "count" towards students' report card marks. Scores are usually released in September, and parents receive individual student reports which indicate the students' level of achievement in the three areas: reading, writing and math. Scores for the province, boards, and individual schools go public each fall as well. (But please take scores at face value: they are snapshots of learning taken over a short period of time, and there may be a variety of circumstances in place which impacted the results - for better or worse. I don't recommend buying your next home based solely on a school's EQAO scores.)
While I do mention this in the segment, it bears repeating here: EQAO should *not* be causing stress for students. They should see it as a challenge, where both teachers and parents expect them to do their best, but without any undue pressure. Many students get butterflies before tests (as they would before dance recitals or hockey games) and that's totally natural, but if your child seems unusually anxious about the upcoming testing, I strongly encourage you to speak with the teacher.
At our school, we try to add some fun to testing days: the kids are encouraged to wear PJs or other comfy clothing, and they get to enjoy gum and hard candy as they work away. Many are actually looking forward to it! (No, really. I swear.)
Please feel free to ask if you have any other EQAO questions, and be sure to check out eqao.com as well.