The Annual Trainwreck

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The Fraser Institute puts a huge database online with the results of standardized testing so that you can first-hand witness to where your school or school district stands.  The EQAO is quick to point out that the Ontario version of standardized testing is different from the US procedures.  See the infographic here.

The online database “ranks” each Ontario school in descending order by result.  That way, you can see how well or poorly your school did on the test.  There actually is a great deal of advice for parents and teachers online when questioning the results.  In a perfect world, you might want to focus on the use of these results to look towards improving your child’s achievement in school.

Sadly, though, the data from the report is used in ways that go beyond that.

Even in the database itself, you have this option.

And, sadly, that’s what’s often done.

The local newspaper’s accounting showed their understanding of mathematics by subtracting the score of the school with the lowest rating from that of the top to illustrate the range.  That was it.  Perhaps a deeper investigation would be to ask the question “Why?”  It’s only when that question is asked can things happen.

I’ve mentioned this before and I think it bears repeating.  No teacher wakes up and wonders “How can I screw up at school today?”.  It’s a real inspiration to go to work knowing that staff and students might have read the same newspaper and know exactly where they stand when compared to another school.

If there’s proven value for these scores leading to better achievement, share the results with the school and district to analyse with an eye towards that improvement.

I don’t see that as unreasonable.

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