Giving Teachers More Flexibility On Diagnostic Assessments
August 13, 2012
Ontario’s teachers are some of the best trained when it comes to helping those students who need it most. That's why the McGuinty government is committed to giving teachers more flexibility when it comes to diagnostic assessments while continuing to respect the vital leadership of principals and school boards in making decisions on student supports.
Diagnostic assessments are used to identify a student’s needs, abilities and readiness to learn the knowledge and skills outlined in the curriculum. This information helps teachers determine where individual students are in their learning so that teachers can better personalize their instruction for a particular student’s needs.
Recently signed memorandums of understanding with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Association des Enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) are giving teachers greater autonomy in choosing appropriate assessment tools and in deciding how often assessments are needed.
The memorandums will ensure Ontario’s teachers are in a better position to apply their professional judgement on the selection and appropriate use of diagnostic assessments. The government intends for all local collective agreements to include clear language that gives teachers increased autonomy to select and use diagnostic assessments to meet the individual needs of students. Even with these changes, teachers will still be accountable to principals and school boards for their assessment decisions.
To assist principals and to provide general direction for all school boards, the Ministry of Education will release a Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) that will establish best practices for the effective use of diagnostic assessments.
Local boards will develop a pre-approved list of appropriate assessment tools that is consistent with its improvement plan for student achievement. This is a change from current practice with no guidelines on frequency, type of testing and who gets tested. Increased autonomy enhances teachers’ ability to gather data that is relevant in order to make judgments on their students’ needs throughout the learning cycle. Principals and school boards will continue to provide vital leadership and oversight for teachers in making the best decisions when it comes to appropriate diagnostic assessments.
The McGuinty government recognizes that teachers are well equipped to determine the needs of their students. By giving teachers more flexibility to exercise their well-trained, professional judgement, the government is putting teachers in a better position to meet their students’ needs and to reduce gaps in achievement for struggling students.