Grade 10 test postponement a ‘disappointment’

A breach in security of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test over the weekend put the mandatory grade 10 test on hold across the province.
Warren Hoshizaki, education director for the Rainy River District School Board, said Tuesday the news was a surprise.
“I found out [about the postponement] Monday afternoon. I got a message from the ministry,” he noted. “It’s interesting. About a week ago, we heard some groups were asking students to protest the testing and not write it.
“I was just out to Rainy River High School this morning, and I think there’s some disappointment among teachers and students,” Hoshizaki added.
“Our campaign was to get parents and all the teachers involved—we were ready to write.”
“I think ‘deflated’ is the word,” echoed Fort High principal Ian Simpson on Wednesday morning. “As people know, we had a plan in place. I think everybody was ready for the test.
“We just had an assembly Monday afternoon where I stressed the serious nature of this test to the students,” he noted. “Then I walked out of the auditorium, and found out I had to get on the PA and make an announcement the test was postponed due to a breach in security.
“You could almost hear the gasp across the school.”
Simpson noted the school has a literacy team of teachers and administration in place, which will meet soon to discuss the postponement and keep students on their toes about the test.
“I hope we can get them back to that state of mental preparation,” he remarked. “But I think it will be hard to achieve. They were ready.”
Hoshizaki said the ministry ordered all boards to return the tests intact immediately.
“Now, they’re going to have to write another test. It sounded like they were hoping to try something as soon as soon possible, not later this year or next spring,” he noted.
The Ontario government called off the province-wide Grade 10 literacy tests scheduled for this week after someone had posted part of it on a Web site.
More than 140,000 students were due to write the test.
“It is deplorable that the actions of a group of students have robbed their peers of valuable opportunity to participate in this test,” Dr. Bette Stephenson, chair of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), said in a press release issued Monday.
“They, along with their teachers and parents, have been working diligently to prepare for [Tuesday’s] administration,” she added.
The board here has vowed to see improved test scores after many district students didn’t take the test seriously last year—and ended up ranking among the lowest performers in the province.
Ed Ojala, president of District 5B of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, was unavailable for comment before press time.