covereng.jpg (10339 bytes)
testing2.jpg (39327 bytes) Participants in the College consultation expressed strong support for the College's approach of refining policies and processes for the accreditation of pre-service and in-service teacher education programs.

Intense Discussions as Stakeholders Provide Their Views on Teacher Testing Options

The College's consultation on teacher testing brought together people from over 30 Ontario organizations representing teachers, education faculties, parents and students. Others responded by fax, mail and the Internet.

Four intense days of group discussion of the College's consultation paper on teacher testing provided key information for members of Council's ad hoc committee as they formulated recommendations for Council.

"The participants appreciated being able to hear what the other groups thought of the College options and the other issues they raised," Deputy Registrar Joe Atkinson said after the structured consultation on A Consultation Paper: Formulating a Response to the Letter of November 10, 1999 from the Minister of Education re a Teacher Testing Program, which took place February 28 to march 2.

Other important sources of input for the committee included position papers submitted to the College by education and public partners, and data submitted by members of the College and the public through the College web site, by fax and e-mail, and hand-delivered to the College.

The consultation paper contained 22 options in all, the result of an extensive research process undertaken by the College over the course of the summer and fall after the government announced its plan to introduce teacher testing.

The options were grouped according to the Minister of Education's five parameters for the proposed teacher testing program:

  • the regular assessment of teachers' knowledge and skills
  • methodologies which include written and other assessment techniques
  • a link to re-certification
  • remediation for those who fail assessments
  • de-certification as a consequence if remediation is unsuccessful.

The structured consultation with key stakeholders identified by the Minister of Education and the College played an important role in the deliberations of the ad hoc committee assigned the task of formulating recommendations for the College Council. The intent was to add to the research base already established by the College. Forty-two education stakeholders were invited by the College to take part in one of these structured sessions; 33 accepted. Organizations were invited to send up to two representatives on a specific day. One day of consultations was conducted in French.

In an introductory message, Deputy Registrar Joe Atkinson told participants that the College was not trying to generate a consensus, but to record their opinions.

"We want to get your reactions to the options we have included in our consultation paper," said the Deputy Registrar. "They aren't mutually exclusive. There may be others you want to add. There may be some you think we should be taking out."

The consultation sessions were conducted by senior staff from the College's Professional Affairs Department and the Policy and Research Unit. The analysis of the data collected was co-ordinated by Linda Grant, Co-ordinator of Professional Affairs. Grant summed up the College's role in her remarks during the sessions.

"All the data we're gathering is very important. The College has no position as yet. Our job is to gather all the information available and use it to formulate the best advice we can for the Minister of Education."

Participants expressed strong support for an option that recommended the College continue to refine policies and processes for the accreditation of pre-service and in-service teacher education programs. Some groups raised concerns about governance. The Ontario Association of Deans of Education (OADE) pointed out that "consultation with OADE is crucial to this process."

Another option that drew wide support was the suggestion to provide a two-year on-the-job induction program for new teachers. Reservations centred on staffing and funding issues. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario pointed out that such a program needs a "well developed and resourced mentoring program."

Many participants also supported the suggestion that all members of the College be required to prepare an annual professional growth plan, but there was a strong message that such plans could not stand alone. It is essential that they be integrated into existing professional development or appraisal measures. However, the Ontario Public Supervisory Officers' Association felt that a plan was premature: "It is difficult to define the assessment tool prior to identifying what is to be measured."

The option that members of the College who had been away from the profession for a lengthy period be required to participate in an orientation program raised many questions. "What is the criteria that will determine success, who is responsible for the program and what resources will be devoted to it?" asked the Association des directions et directions adjointes des Žcoles franco-ontariennes. "Too many responsibilities that are not supported with the necessary resources are being given to boards." The Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education raised the question of impact on rural and northern areas. However, none of the stakeholder groups at the consultation disagreed with the option.

"The sessions throughout the four days were quite intense," says the Deputy Registrar. "Participants were very focused on the discussions. They were interested in what others had to say, and were very concise and articulate in expressing their views. In fact, some participants took their policy statements back with them to make some changes, based on the discussions they engaged in around the table."

Organizations that submitted papers to the consultation
Assessment Training Consortium representing the Durham, Halton, Lakehead, Ottawa-Carleton, Toronto and Waterloo Region District School Boards

Catholic Community Position - Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers' Association, Catholic Principals' Council of Ontario

Catholic Principals' Council of Ontario

Education Network Ontario/Réseau éducatif de l'Ontario

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Hamilton Secondary Unit, Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario

Ontario Association of Deans in Education

Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations

Ontario Secondary School Students' Association

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board

Parent Network Ontario

Parents partenaires en éducation

Supervisory Officers, Peel District School Board

Taxpayers' Coalition Halton Inc.

Thames Valley District School Board

University of Western Ontario: Graduate Education Course


Stakeholder Organizations that took part in the consultation
Association canadienne-francaise de l'Ontario

Association des agentes et agents de supervision franco-ontariens

Association des conseillères et des conseillers des écoles publiques de l'Ontario

Association des directions et des directions adjointes franco-ontariennes

Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens

Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques

Catholic Principals' Council of Ontario

Council of Ontario Directors of Education

Education Quality and Accountability Office

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Independent School Association of Ontario

Institute for Catholic Education

Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education

Ontario Association of Deans in Education

Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education

Ontario Association of School Business Officials

Ontario Catholic School Business Officials' Association

Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association

Ontario Catholic Student Council Federation

Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers' Association

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Coalition for Education Reform

Ontario Education Alliance

Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations

Ontario Principals' Council

Ontario Public School Boards' Association

Ontario Public Supervisory Officials' Association

Ontario Secondary School Students' Association

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

Ontario Teachers' Federation

Organization for Quality Education

People for Education