For the last few days, students across the province have been needlessly trying to work through frustrating technical issues with the Education Quality and Accountability Office’s (EQAO) digital assessment platform. Today, EQAO announced that these significant technical difficulties have resulted in a pause to the testing while they work to resolve the issues.

ETFO has received reports that some students faced significant system lags, while other students completed entire sections only to learn that their answers did not save. This is inexcusable given the Ministry of Education had the opportunity to pause EQAO again this year. These predictable technical issues add unnecessary stress for students and teachers during a time that is already quite challenging.

Educators have significant concerns about the well-being and mental health of students. Adding EQAO-related anxiety and stress at this time is totally irresponsible.

In February 2022, ETFO wrote to Minister Lecce to express concerns about their planned implementation of the EQAO assessments in grades 3 and 6 this year and called for a pause of EQAO assessments for students in grades 3 and 6. ETFO shared concerns about significant deficiencies in the planning and preparation of the new digital format, and let the Minister know they should be focused on bringing stability to Ontario schools, not disruptive testing.

Like other issues ETFO has raised with them, they proceeded despite sound rationale for a pause. Unfortunately, this follows a common pattern, a lack of organization and planning by the Ministry of Education regarding their initiatives. Schools may now need to reschedule and postpone curricular and extracurricular activities to accommodate new assessment dates. And students will likely be asked to redo the assessment with no assurances that the system will not go down again.

It is time to say, “No to EQAO.”

ETFO represents approximately 83,000 members, including public elementary teachers, occasional teachers, designated early childhood educators, education support personnel, and professional support personnel. Visit BuildingBetterSchools.ca.