A careful examination of the EQAO Act shows that the government was particularly interested in the accountability dimension of education reform.
The EQAO was charged with creating, collecting and scoring standardized tests for both elementary and secondary schools, (5) as well as reporting results to the government, media and the general public (MacLellan 2009; EQAO 2012).
The province aims to have at least 75 per cent of grade 3, 6 and 9 students achieve the provincial standard, which is equivalent to a B grade (Ontario, Ministry of Education 2011b); students are required to pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) before graduating from high school (Lipman 2004; EQAO 2012).
In particular, the EQAO discovered that in 2010 at least 12 schools had engaged in such behaviours on the 2009-10 tests and consequently withheld their results (EQAO 2011).
Schools that achieve the lowest scores on the EQAO tests or that have declining results may qualify for the province's Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership (OFIP), an initiative created to provide targeted support to school boards based on their specific needs (Childs and Fung 2009; Ontario, Ministry of Education 2012).
The EQAO test results illustrate the percentage of children in grades 3, 6 and 9 who achieved the provincial standard or higher, as well as the percentage of youth who successfully completed the OSSLT, for each elementary school, secondary school and school board in Ontario.
To help with school selection, EQAO test scores for grades 3 and 6 from 2004-2005 to 2007-2008 were considered for elementary schools from one Catholic school district.
does your school do well on the EQAO test and are they following provincial initiatives"), it was not viewed as the most important component of participants' definitions of school success.
We could be doing very well academically on EQAO scores but have miserable kids that hate coming to school, and I want school to be a great place for them, a safe place and a place where they feel loved.
It appears that accountability measures such as demonstrating academic improvement according to the EQAO test scores were subsumed as part of the faith-based focus of the school.
EQAO guide to school and board improvement planning: A hand book for school and board leaders.