English Language Learners (ELL) are overrepresented among students who don’t meet Ontario’s provincial standards, the Education Quality Assurance Office (EQAO) 2021-2022 test results show. Educators and academics believe it’s the tests that need to be changed.
“[These] tests were not designed with multilingual people in mind,” said Jeff Bale, Associate professor of the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto.
“Standardized tests… [involve] norms on populations that don’t include multilingual people.”
According to educational experts, provincial tests set students up for failure because they do not account for cultural differences. Some have gone as far as calling for the tests to be eradicated.
In the Ontario School Policy and Program Report, ELL students tend to be students who have recently arrived in Canada, or are born in Canada but English is their second language. A report in 2017 by a group of students advocating for a stronger public education system in Canada, found 63 per cent of elementary schools and 58 per cent of secondary schools had ELL students.