Volume 92, Issue 91

Friday, March 19, 1999


Tilston would have been fired by USC

Deterring crime with technology

Computing a new degree

Student groups prep for elections

Nuts and bolts with a business sense

Mixed responses to standardized testing


Caught on campus

Mixed responses to standardized testing

By Leena Kamat
Gazette Staff

The issue of province-wide standardized tests has been a concern among education officials and one which may be raised again due to recent changes made by provincial governments.

British Columbia's New Democratic Party recently decided to stop distributing individual student and school reports to the public, said Anne McKinnon, communications officer for the Ministry of Education in B.C..

McKinnon explained the government's reason for making this change was due to the possibility of test scores being taken out of context and schools being ranked. "The whole reason behind [standardized testing] is to use it to make sure students are up to provincial standards," McKinnon said.

Rob Savage, press secretary for Ontario's Ministry of Education and Training, said the Progressive Conservative government implemented province-wide testing into the public school system in 1997.

"We think it's very important to be conducting these kinds of tests," Savage said. "They give school boards an indication of what areas to put resources in."

Bob Laplante, superintendent of education with the London District Catholic School Board, agreed with the use of provincial tests. "It has served a good purpose and a lot of positives can be attained from provincial testing as long as the information gathered is used appropriately," he said.

Nevertheless, Laplante said these tests are just snapshots of the students and the schools and are not the only measurement of success.

Marshall Mangan, an assistant professor in the faculty of education at Western, said one of the problems with this kind of testing is it leads to teachers simply teaching the material on the tests and not their own creative ideas. "It's a crude way of measuring ability – there are other ways of measuring."

The concern over standardized testing has been extended to the Ontario government's idea to implement exit exams for all graduating students, Savage said, adding it is not clear if the government will actually go ahead with these tests.

"We think there are a number of factors required for a good education – good teachers, a good system and a challenging curriculum," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999