Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Ford Government’s Standardized Test Requirement Doesn’t Add Up to Student Success

“The Ford Conservative government’s newly announced financial literacy graduation requirement raises significant concerns regarding its implementation and impact on students. While Catholic teachers champion the importance of financial literacy, the approach taken by this government lacks clarity and fails to provide adequate support for students and teachers alike.

Grade 10 is already a dense year for students, who are also focused on their literacy test, another graduation requirement. Adding yet another high-stakes standardized test places an undue burden on them. Education experts have long criticized standardized testing for its narrow focus and inability to capture the full range of student abilities and knowledge. Tying a student’s ability to graduate to a test will exacerbate student stress levels, potentially jeopardizing the futures of those who do not perform well under such conditions. It is deeply concerning that the Ford government is ignoring education experts' critical research, choosing instead to double down on a testing model with well-known negative consequences for students.

Mandating a standardized financial literacy test with a 70% pass requirement risks unfairly penalizing students with diverse learning needs. The guidelines for this requirement are alarmingly vague, leaving many questions unanswered. For instance, what provisions are in place for students who do not pass the test? Will they have opportunities to retake it? Will additional classes or supports be offered to ensure they do not fall through the cracks? What role will TVOntario play in the delivery of this program? Without clear answers to these questions, this policy could create significant stress and uncertainty for students.

The Ford government must also provide teachers with comprehensive professional development and resources to effectively teach financial literacy to students. At this point, there has been no mention of funding or supports for ongoing teacher professional development in the government’s announcement, nor any details on how the current math curriculum from Grades 1 to 10 will change to include the information on financial literacy needed for a student to pass their final test.

The lack of detailed implementation plans and support structures raises serious concerns about the feasibility and effectiveness of this initiative. Catholic teachers call on the Ford government to reconsider its approach and engage in a truly collaborative policy development process with meaningful consultation with teachers. This should involve teachers and other education experts from the outset, harnessing their expertise to ensure that any new requirements are realistic, supportive, and beneficial for all students.

To ensure that financial literacy education is meaningful and accessible, we urge the government to rethink this ill-conceived policy – one that raises more questions than answers. It is only through a comprehensive and well-supported approach that we can actually address financial literacy as part of a holistic educational experience, and truly prepare students for the future without compromising their learning needs.”

- René Jansen in de Wal, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association