This section addresses some commonly asked questions about classroom and provincial student assessments.

Are all students expected to participate in EQAO provincial assessments?
Yes. The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) Act states that all students are required to participate in EQAO’s provincial assessments. EQAO’s exemption policy permits school principals to exempt students individually, based on extenuating circumstances or special needs.

Can school boards, or individual students, choose not to participate in an assessment?
No. The legislation (Bill 30) that established Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) requires all students in publicly funded schools to participate in provincial assessments. Students are exempted or accommodated on an individual basis and only for reasons outlined in EQAO’s Policy on Exemptions and Accommodations. Students in special education programs, unless exempted, are required to participate in provincial assessments. Accommodations are provided according to the student’s needs and the EQAO policy. These include assisting with pacing, providing a quiet work place, providing assessment tasks in a different format (e.g. Braille test) or allowing the use of various technological resources (e.g. voice-activated computer).

Do grade 3 and grade 6 assessment results count towards students’ regular grades?
No. The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) provides individualized feedback to the parents and teachers of every child who takes part in an assessment in the fall of the same year.

Do grade 3 and grade 6 assessment results become part of the child’s permanent school record?
No. Information about the child’s performance is only kept in the school for one year following the assessment. A child’s test score cannot be used to determine grade promotion or future program selections.

Does EQAO release individual student work or individual results to the public after the assessment?
No. Individual student work and results are strictly confidential. Student test books are not returned to schools. Individual student results are kept in an electronic file at the school for up to one year.

What is EQAO’s policy on exemptions and accommodations?
Teachers and principals must make every effort to enable students with special needs to participate with their peers in all aspects of the assessment.

Teachers are permitted to provide one or more of the specific accommodations described in Education Quality and Accountability Office’s Guide for Accommodations, a Special Provision and Exemptions to students who normally receive accommodations as noted in their Individual Education Plan. For example, teachers can assist with organizing or pacing activities, provide a quiet workplace, allow assistive devices (e.g. Bliss Boards), provide the assessment tasks in different format (e.g. Braille text) or allow a student to use various technological resources (e.g. voice-activated computers).

The principal is authorized to exempt a student from part or all of an assessment in a situation where, even with all possible accommodations, the student would be unable to participate productively and/or where the student’s participation would be harmful. Before exempting any student, the principal is required to consult with the student’s teacher and parents and obtain written parental consent.