Lorenda Reddekopp, CBC News, August 28, 2019
A University of Toronto education researcher is raising concerns about requiring new teachers to pass a math test, saying they could dissuade people from diverse backgrounds from even entering education and also worsen the current shortage of French teachers.
The required testing is set to begin for incoming teachers who apply to the Ontario College of Teachers on or after March 31, 2020. The Ontario government is pitching it as part of the solution to improve low student math results.
“We cannot accept for two consecutive years, Grade 6 students failing the provincial average,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce told reporters on Tuesday, citing recent standardized Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) scores. The same office will develop the standardized test for teachers.
Lecce said he doesn’t fault teachers, instead slamming the previous Liberal government and its switch to a discovery math curriculum.
“There’s a reason why our young kids today cannot do basic math,” Lecce said.
But based on research [Mary] Reid [assistant professor and the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education] has seen out of the United States, she’s not convinced teacher math tests will solve the lower student test scores, saying there doesn’t seem to be a connection between teachers passing this type of test and student achievement.
She also points to U.S. research that finds black and Latino teaching candidates have higher failure rates when it comes to math skills, which researchers associate with socioeconomics and systemic discrimination in the school system.
“We want to diversify the teacher population and not go the other way,” Reid said.