Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

huffing and puffing

On Friday I wrote about the National Union of Teachers' position on standardized testing for elementary students in England.

That afternoon I received a newsletter from the Ontario Literacy Coalition pointing me to this release from the Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities about a "a study on the feasibility of creating an assessment tool, or suite of tools, for the Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program."


  • Because no single tool currently exists that meets the assessment needs of all streams and transition pathways;
  • To provide a means that is compatible with the Adult Literacy Curriculum [due in 2010] of assessing learner skill attainment as part of the Continuous Improvement Performance Management System (CIPMS);
  • To advance the work of the Learning Ministries in developing a common assessment environment based on the Essential Skills between MTCU, Ministry of Education (EDU) and Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI)
  • To provide Ontario with the capability of measuring literacy gains across LBS streams and sectors in a way that is compatible with other jurisdictions in Canada and worldwide, building on the 500-point scale common to both the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the Essential Skills.
And in plain English?
  • we want to create a test that will work in all the learning programs funded by the government
  • we want to measure students' achievements against a standard developed by the government
  • we want the standard to be the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the Essential Skills
  • we want to be able to compare student achievement in Ontario with student achievement in other provinces and other countries
  • Evaluate the requirements of the Learner Skill Attainment assessment framework that will form part of the Adult Literacy Curriculum;
  • Analyze MTCU, EDU and MCI assessment needs and requirements;
  • Identify the range of assessment needs that could be met through a tool or suite of tools;
  • Determine stakeholder assessment requirements, considering factors such as ease of use and length of time for test administration;
  • Gauge the capacity of stakeholders to deliver assessment services, their training requirements, and ongoing support needs.
In plain English?
  • we will make sure that the test will measure student achievement against standards developed by the government
  • we will make sure that the test will meet the needs of the government
  • we will make sure that the test is easy to administer
  • we will determine what training and support literacy workers (?*) need to learn how to administer the test
Professor Smithers will be truly chuffed.

And just to continue with this incredibly garbled metaphor, here is one of my very favourite You Tube videos:

*I am never quite sure what the term "stakeholder" means from place to place.
In this document it seems to refer to different groups in different sentences.


Brigid Hayes said...

MTCU has asked TOWES to conduct this review...while TOWES does much of what the ministry says it is interested in, it seems odd that TOWES would be asked to assess the needs for a new tool - I would have thought this was a conflict of interest.

Wendell Dryden said...

'I am never quite sure what the term "stakeholder" means from place to place.'

Me, too. Sometimes it seems to refer to the person holding the stake, and sometimes to the person swinging the mallet.... :p

risky mouse said...

Brigid: Interesting point. I guess we will see what happens when TOWES finds out whether a standardized test is feasible and, if it is, who gets the contract to design it.

Wendell: Ha ha! All I am sure about, is that 'stakeholder' never refers to me or any of my friends. But if all this nonsense does not stop soon, I am going to book a trip to the mallet store.

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