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What are the key guidelines and details for administering the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics this year?

This section covers common questions that administrators may have regarding the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics.

What is the purpose of the 2020–2021 Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics, and what will be reported this year?

The purpose of the administration of the 2020–2021 Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics is to field test the new online adaptive assessment. The field test provides an opportunity for students to try this new online format and supports the continued development of the assessment platform. As this is a field-test year, school administrators and teachers, with guidance from school boards, need to make decisions about the details of the assessment.

When will the assessments be administered during the year, and will students who are studying remotely full-time be participating in the assessment?

EQAO is planning to administer the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics as close as possible to the end of the Grade 9 academic and applied mathematics courses throughout the year. The initial field test for the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics took place throughout November 2020 and involved students who were studying in person and taking a Grade 9 academic or applied mathematics course. Students who completed their course by October 31 and students who are studying remotely full-time do not participate in the field test. The field testing will continue throughout the rest of the school year.

Can teachers use the results as part of a student’s final course mark?

Teachers will receive individual student results immediately after the students complete the assessment. If agreed to by the teacher and the student, the results can be used in the determination of a student’s final mark, to support the student’s success. As this is a field-test year, EQAO will not be providing school, board or provincial results.

What administration decisions must school administrators make, and what are EQAO’s assessment guidelines?

This year school administrators and teachers, with guidance from school boards, determine the details of the plan for administering the assessment.

School administrators, in partnership with teachers, are responsible for ensuring that

  • the schedule, locations and other details for writing the assessment, including the plan and requirements for students receiving additional time, are determined ahead of time.
  • accommodations and special provisions are provided to students with special education needs, English language learners and students with special circumstances.
  • students are supervised at all times during the assessment.
  • assessment materials, including questions, are not copied or shared in any way (e.g., pictures are not taken of any question).
  • any issues related to the security of the assessment are reported to EQAO.

If a student’s response to a question on an assessment or questionnaire is deemed offensive, the principal may be notified.

What do the sessions look like, and what is the timing of the assessment?

The Grade 9 assessment uses a multi-stage computer adaptive testing model. Students complete the assessment in two sessions (Session A and Session B), and each session is completed in one sitting. In this testing model, the assessment automatically adapts to the individual student’s level of proficiency as the student progresses through each session. Students will also be presented with a questionnaire.

The allotted time for the sessions is shown below. If students require additional time to complete a session, extra time with supervision is allowed.

The questionnaire collects information about the student’s experience with the online assessment system and the student’s perception of the impact of COVID-19 on the current school year. The questionnaire can be completed after Session A or B. 

What accommodations and special provisions are suggested for students?

Please e-mail EQAO at info@eqao.com to order a Braille or paper version of the assessment, MP3s with full audio descriptions, and/or an alternative version of the assessment within the e-assessment system with full audio description of all graphics. All of these formats of the assessment have been created for students with special education needs, including students with a visual impairment.

The following formats of the assessment have been created for students with special education needs, including students with a visual impairment: 

  • A Unified English Braille version of the assessment (contracted or uncontracted)
  • A paper version of the assessment 
  • MP3s with full audio descriptions
  • An alternative version of the assessment in the e-assessment system with full audio descriptions 

Please e-mail EQAO at info@eqao.com to order these versions of the assessment.

Please note that 72 hours’ notice is required for all alternative versions of the assessment.

School administrators and teachers can create a plan to accommodate all students who require the following:

  • Additional time
  • A quiet, individual and/or small group setting
  • Preferential seating
  • Prompts (for students who are off task)

Accommodations for each student with special education needs must be consistent with assessment accommodations on the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and can include the following:

  • Extended periodic supervised breaks
  • Sign language or an oral interpreter
  • A Unified English Braille version with or without the audio version
  • Additional assistive technology
  • Verbatim scribing of answers

Provisions for English language learners can include the following:

  • Extended periodic supervised breaks
  • Digital or paper language resources

What can students have access to during the assessment?

During the assessment, students can have access to the following:

  • Headphones for listening to questions, as required
  • A pencil, eraser, ruler and paper for rough work
  • An additional calculator, including a scientific or graphing calculator with or without computer algebra systems
  • Manipulatives or virtual applications, including online manipulatives or graphing calculators
  • Hard copies of the formula sheets or EQAO French–English and English–French glossaries

The online assessment system provides students with access to the formula sheets, EQAO French–English and English–French glossaries, and a scientific calculator.

What is multi-stage computer adaptive testing, and how will it work for the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics?

The Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics uses a multi-stage computer adaptive testing model, which means that the assessment automatically adapts to the individual student’s level of proficiency as the student progresses through each session.

Each session is made up of two stages (Session A consists of Stages 1 and 2, and Session B consists of Stages 3 and 4). Each stage is made up of modules that contain questions of a specific overall level of difficulty (low, medium or high). The student’s achievement on the first module of each session will determine the module the student is directed to in the following stage.

The process is illustrated in the diagram below. Each student begins Session A by completing Module 1 (in Stage 1), which contains a set of items with a medium overall level of difficulty. Based on the student’s achievement on this first module, the student is presented with a new module in Stage 2 of low (Module 2), medium (Module 3) or high (Module 4) overall difficulty.

This process repeats for Stages 3 and 4 of Session B. Students start Session B by completing another set of items with a medium overall level of difficulty (Module 5 of Stage 3) and then are presented with a new module in Stage 4 of low (Module 6), medium (Module 7) or high (Module 8) difficulty according to their level of proficiency in Module 5. The student’s achievement in all four stages will determine the student’s overall achievement level (Level 1, 2, 3 or 4). The assessment design ensures that students move only one level of difficulty higher or lower at any one time.

The distribution of questions among curriculum strands and skill categories is used to generate cut scores and maximum attainable scores. These lead to the generation of reports for students on their proficiency, along with feedback on their proficiency on curriculum strands and categories of knowledge and skills.

When will students receive the report, and what is included in the report?

As all responses are machine-scored, teachers will have access to an automated report on the student’s achievement shortly after the student completes the assessment. This report can be provided to the student, parents and guardians. The sample below shows information included in the report for students in the academic course.