Monitoring, Accountability, and Improvement, Oh No! Assessment Policies and Practices in Canadian Education

  • Don A. KlingerEmail author
Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 2)


Public education in Canada is under the jurisdiction of provincial and territorial governments that oversee policies, procedures, practices, curriculum, funding structures, and public accountability. This chapter explores the shifting methods that provinces use to monitor student achievement and demonstrate educational accountability. Large-scale testing programmes provide a central measure of educational accountability at the district, school, and even teacher level. However, these Canadian accountability models do not impact teachers’ salaries, teacher promotion or school funding. Rather, they appear to reflect a level of trust in educators’ professionalism to work to improve student achievement. This overview of the large-scale, K-12 assessment programmes across Canada highlights the common structures and practices that exist across the country, while also summarising the links between these testing programmes and accountability. The emerging trends in large-scale testing and educational accountability also underscore current debates and movements. Hence large-scale tests serve a growing number of purposes, and alternative data sources are being promoted to support accountability. “Assessment For Learning” is now prevalent throughout provincial assessment policies and practices. These accountability practices and trends to support student achievement raise a number of questions. Of these emerging questions, we must ask if accountability should be the lightning rod for school improvement?


Educational accountability Large-scale testing Education policy Assessment for learning K-12 education Public education Canadian education 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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