Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"More Standardized Tests!" Ontario Parents Demand

Dec. 4, 2013

ONTARIO: Tension is rising across Ontario as parents are expressing outrage that their children are not getting the training they need in writing standardised tests that will prepare them for future careers. 

Parents are deeply concerned over the lack of class time dedicated to important areas of learning such as selecting the best multiple choice option, restating the question in your answer, shading in the entire bubble, and writing properly formatted news reports that match the picture provided.

“I’m scared,” said Margaret Taylor, a parent of three children in the public school system. “How can we, as a Canadian society, compete with the world if our students aren’t trained to successfully read over a multiple choice question to make sure their selection is the correct one?” Taylor has written to her school board demanding that an increased amount of attention be given to test prep. 

“There’s a lot at stake here,” Taylor added. “I don’t want my children to enter a career without being ready with hours of experience in shading bubbles under their belt. It really is a shame how we’re dropping the ball on this.” 

Paul Forman, who has a son heading to a college welding program this September, is concerned about his son’s career readiness. “In the past my son hasn’t written a correctly formatted leading paragraph that matched the provided picture in his News Reports. It scares me that he might not be adequately prepared for a career in welding. Shouldn’t more time have been spent on this in the classroom?” 

Some parents have expressed discontentment with any focus on rich learning assignments that foster creativity, reflection, and thoughtful engagement with the curriculum content. In a recent letter to the editor, Lisa DiCerbo, mother of a grade 10 student, writes, “This is a disaster! Why are we wasting time on all this mamby schmamby creative stuff that grows their brains, when we should be working on those test-taking muscles!”

“I couldn’t tell you the difference myself, but my son needs to know the difference between the topic and the main idea,” said DiCerbo.

“If my kid knows the answer, but doesn’t quote details from the text to support his answer, how can he ever make a life for himself?” said an anonymous parent. “We need action on this.” 

Parents in multiple cities across Ontario have started to band together to, as they see it, save education. Brandon Swartz, writing in the Facebook group titled, “Standardized Tests Unlock Practical Ideal Development”, writes, “I’m not concerned whether or not my child has a great learning experience at school that helps them be an active member of society with an educated imagination. That’s not what I pay taxes for. I want them to become the best standardized test writers they can be.” 

The Ministry of Education has not yet commented on the increasing number of parents concerned about their children's' futures and are demanding change.

It is estimated that 78% of high schools students do not even use all the space provided in short written questions.


  1. Perhaps these students will be able to eventually attain employment as robots.

  2. Of course you have to be able to write an imaginary news article on a random stock picture from the early 90s! That is the definition of success.

    1. Are you suggesting that writing imaginary news articles, about say, high school stuff, is not a worthwhile adult endeavour? :)