Date for grade 10 test still in limbo

The local public school board still doesn’t know when the province-wide grade 10 literacy test will be re-scheduled.
“We’ve not heard any news of the grade 10 literacy testing,” said Warren Hoshizaki, director of education for the Rainy River District School Board.
In the interim, the board, including a literacy committee at Fort Frances High School, remains poised for the test, which students must pass in order to graduate.
“We’ll probably meet next week,” said FFHS principal Ian Simpson, referring to the committee.
“We were hoping we might hear something soon so we’ll have an inkling as to what to discuss and to schedule how we can prepare next time,” he added.
More than 140,000 students were supposed to write the test last Tuesday and Wednesday. But the government abruptly cancelled it last Monday after portions were posted on the Internet.
Ed Ojala, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation 5B, offered his opinion on the test delay.
“In other jurisdictions where graduation is dependent on a high-stakes test, preparations are made for a breach in security,” he said. “The government was not prepared.
“When a test of this nature is sitting for every publicly-funded secondary school in the province, the likelihood of a mistake is very high,” he added.
Ojala also noted his concern for the indefinite delay.
“Teachers and students have worked very hard to prepare for this high-stakes test, and it is unfortunate that the anxiety of writing it be prolonged,” he said.
“As teachers continue to prepare the students for the next test, there will be further delays in covering the demanding grade 10 curriculum,” he argued.
The district OSSTF also has questioned the overall purpose of the test.
“There is an opportunity here to provide real learning and remedial help for grade 10 students.
“Rather than wasting $12 million—money that could have been used for textbooks—and spending more funds to create a new test, I believe the government should scrap the diploma requirement completely and still administer the existing test,” charged Ojala.
“The test could then be used as a diagnostic tool that the government could use to provide meaningful feedback allowing students to improve on their mistakes,” he added.
“The focus should be on learning opportunities, and not politics.”