EQAO tests don't affect grades or future career paths, so stop stressing!

EQAO stands for Education Quality and Accountability Office. It is the provincial agency that designs and tests Grade 3 and Grade 6 students in reading, writing and mathematics. (Grade 9 students are tested in mathematics and Grade 10 students are given a literacy test.) 

The EQAO tests give parents, teachers, principals and school boards information about how well students have learned the Ontario curriculum in reading, writing and mathematics. However, some critics say there is pressure on school administrators and teachers to prepare students too early for these tests. This can lead to some panic on the part of parents. Read more on Understanding Standardized Testing.

Here are some questions that will help parents understand what EQAO tests mean to them:

What do the different levels mean for students' achievement?

  • Level 1 means their skills fall below the provincial standard.
  • Level 2 means they are close to meeting the provincial standard.
  • Level 3 means they are at the provincial standard.
  • Level 4 means they have surpassed the provincial standard.

What is the provincial standard based on?
The provincial standard is based upon the Ontario Curriculum for students in grades 3 and 6. The curriculum tells us where they should be at each level in their education. If your child isn’t working at the level they should be, EQAO testing can tell you and teachers what subjects to concentrate on.

How do teachers use this information?
Teachers can adjust their teaching strategies or resources if many students did poorly on a particular subject. If students across several schools have the same difficulties, then the school boards may wish to look at where training is falling short.

How will this affect my child?
The tests do not count as part of a student̢۪s mark and do not affect their progress or future in school. (But students must pass the Grade 10 Literacy Test or Literacy course in order to graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma.)

What if my child has special needs?
Students with special needs and some others may receive special accommodations to help them with the tests. In some cases, certain students may be exempt.

How do schools prepare students?
Different school boards, schools and teachers have different initiatives to prepare their students for the EQAO test. Many have specialized teachers who deal solely with literacy issues. Check with your local school board to find out what policies and programs are in place. Classroom teachers are typically helping to prepare their students for the test. Some schools have taken the initiative to develop partnerships with other schools to prepare students. For example, check out an amazing program where under-priveledged students are paired with older mentor students from an upper class private school (see Resources section).

How can I help my child at home?
There is no special preparation for the tests because they are testing skills in reading, comprehension and writing that have been built up over time. Be sure to check out tips you can use to help your child put their best foot forward. You can also use this tip sheet which is available in various languages.

What does my child need to know?
For reading/comprehension, kids should be able to understand the ideas behind the words and relate that to their own lives. For the writing portion, kids should be able to focus on a main idea, explain it and organize their own added ideas using proper tone, grammar and spelling.

Remember: Your child's teacher is your ally. If you have serious concerns, make an appointment to discuss them with him/her.