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Understanding the Power of Literacy and Ontario’s Literacy Education: A Critical Analysis of the EQAO and its Definition of Literacy Practices

Understanding the Power of Literacy and Ontario’s Literacy Education: A Critical Analysis of the EQAO and its Definition of Literacy Practices

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Title: Understanding the Power of Literacy and Ontario’s Literacy Education: A Critical Analysis of the EQAO and its Definition of Literacy Practices
Author: Godin, Neil
Abstract: Initially introduced through the Royal Commission on Learning and later created through legislation, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) is a publically funded, crown agency that determines the quality and effectiveness of the Ontario’s education system1. Administered by the EQAO to students at the Grade Ten level, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) provides education stakeholders with accurate information regarding the degree to which the students are able to properly demonstrate their understanding of how to utilize certain literacy skills and participate in society once graduated (EQAO, 2007, p.9). Framed by a Foucauldian framework that critiques a technical rationalist understanding of education, this MRP will contribute to the growing research regarding the OSSLT and discuss the potential implications that the literacy assessment may have on students, as well as an individual’s understanding of literacy and their own academic and non-academic capabilities. Using a qualitative research method to perform a critical analysis on the Royal Commission on Learning’s report, For the Love of Learning (Royal Commission on Learning, 1995), the 1996 Education Quality and Accountability Office Act (EQAO Act, 1996; EQAO, 2013), the Ontario Curriculum: Grades 9 and 10 – English (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2007), the EQAO’s Framework: Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test document (EQAO 2007) and the “OSSLT Sample Assessment Booklet: New Layout” (EQAO, 2015a; EQAO 2015b), findings reveal that the EQAO disregards the complexity of literacy practices. The EQAO constructs its own definition of literacy practices to simultaneously reproduce the definitions of literacy and illiteracy. The illiterate individual is constructed by the EQAO as one to be feared and isolated from the social and economic activities that occur outside of the school. The EQAO establishes literacy practices as a mechanism that can be measured and evaluated, but not challenged, critiqued, nor used to criticize society, or the economy within a society.
Subject: EQAO
Literacy
Rights: The copyright for the paper content remains with the author.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/34192
Citation: Major Research Paper (Master's), Faculty of Education, York University
Date: 2017-08-16

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