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Education Quality and Accountability Office of Ontario, Canada

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The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) is an advisory board legislated into creation[1] in 1996 by the Government of Ontario, Canada in response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Learning in February 1995.[2] The board's initial duties were to advise the Minister of Education and Training on elementary and secondary education assessment programs.

Initially established as a seven-member advisory board, the EQAO is required to have between seven and nine board members, including a chair, currently Dr. Brian L. Desbiens. The EQAO has a $15 million annual budget to conduct its operations.


The responsibilities of the Office include:

  • develop tests for both French- and English-language students,
  • administer the tests, in co-operation with school boards,
  • evaluate test results,
  • manage Ontario's participation in national and international tests,
  • assess the effectiveness of the system via qualitative and quantitative measures,
  • make recommendations to the Government of Ontario to improve education quality,
  • report aggregate test results and system practices to the public.

The EQAO issues province-wide standardized tests annually. Students attending Ontario education facilities are required to take the respective tests at their grade level.

  • Grade 3: reading, writing and mathematics testing, beginning in 1996;
  • Grade 6: reading, writing and mathematics testing, beginning in 1996;
  • Grade 9: mathematics testing; and
  • Grade 10: reading and writing testing (known as the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test).


The establishment of the EQAO, and in particular standardized testing throughout Ontario, has been criticized by a number of groups. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) has frequently questioned the need for standardized testing; a press release issued in March 2005, after the hiring of Pascal as the EQAO chair, conveyed this position.[3]

The Office publishes little technical information about its tests, and its staff tends to be drawn from the provincial education establishment. For example, former chair Charles Pascal, is a former deputy minister of education. The Office's impartiality is routinely questioned each time it issues test results which might be taken as reflecting well on the provincial government.


  1. ^  Canadian Legal Information Institute: Education Quality and Accountability Office Act, 1996
  2. ^  Government of Ontario - Ministry of Education: The Education Quality and Accountability Office
  3. ^  Education Quality and Accountability Office - About EQAO: Chair of the EQAO Board of Directors
  4. ^  Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation: New chair for Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) – but same old testing story

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