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Update on the Ontario Education Research and Evaluation Strategy Carol Campbell, Chief Research Officer/ Director, Education Research and Evaluation Strategy Branch. Four ways that evidence can play a critical role:

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Update on the Ontario Education Research and Evaluation Strategy

Carol Campbell, Chief Research Officer/

Director, Education Research and Evaluation Strategy Branch

symposium 2009 closing gaps in student achievement
Four ways that evidence can play a critical role:

Understanding gaps in performance between currently higher and lower achieving students

Identifying and supporting strategies and practices that contribute to successful outcomes

Challenging negative assumptions and raising expectations

Integrating research, policy and practice concerns to strengthen application and communication of evidence

Symposium 2009:Closing Gaps in Student Achievement






reach every student energizing ontario education
High levels of student achievement

Going deeper and wider on literacy and numeracy

Continuing innovation in secondary schools

Reduced gaps in student achievement

Reducing the gaps in achievement for those groups of students who, for whatever reason, need extra help

Increased confidence in publicly funded education

Fostering greater two-way engagement with the public to inform the implementation of the mandate to foster public confidence

Strengthening the role of schools as the heart of communities

Recognizing the pivotal role of schools in developing the workforce and citizens of tomorrow

Reach Every Student: Energizing Ontario Education
what is closing the gaps
Equity and excellence go hand in hand. And a quality education for all in publicly funded schools is a key feature of fostering social cohesion – an inclusive society where diversity is the hallmark, and where all cultures are embraced within a common set of values.

Our goal is to foster social cohesion through a publicly funded education system that respects diversity and brings all students together to learn through a shared set of experiences.

Our goal is to reach every student, regardless of his or her personal circumstances.*

*from Reach Every Student: Energizing Ontario Education

What is ‘closing the gaps’ ?
a priority for action
“Raising the bar and closing the gap cannot just be a slogan. It captures a host of issues that go to the very core how a society functions… The education component can and must be quite precise work; it needs to focus on all categories of students and schools… We need to remind ourselves that it is not just a matter of being aware of the gap goal, but working diligently day after day, monitoring progress, and taking corrective action.”A Priority for Action

(Fullan, 2007: 44-45)

gaps can change over grades and time example ontario secondary school literacy test scores
Gaps Can Change Over Grades and Time Example: Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test Scores

ELL= English Language Learners

multiple and interconnected gaps special education and gender
Multiple and Interconnected Gaps:Special Education and Gender

The average ratio of boys to girls is approximately 2:1

Data Source: Information Management Branch, Ministry of Education

Special Education

Recently Completed

Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) Projects – The CODE evidence-based projects focussed on piloting and implementing many of the recommendations of Education for All K-6, including differentiated instruction, assistive technology, professional learning communities and literacy/numeracy instruction.

Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) Student Assessment Project – The OPA project collected key results and promising sustainable practices from every school board’s individual project designed to reduce wait times for student assessment (Kindergarten to Grade 4) and improve the quality and usability of assessment data.

Currently Underway

Web Based Teaching Tool (WBTT) – The WBTT is designed to screen young learners for remedial/instructional supplements to their normal education, and data from the previous year indicates a strong link between WBTT use and the activation of supports for students who are struggling.

Dispute Resolution – The resource guide Shared Solutions was developed following Ministry research into dispute resolution with stakeholder input, and an evaluation of the Dispute Resolution Pilots with the recommendations of the Provincial Advisory Committee will be used to inform future policy direction.

Future Direction

Broader Assessment Measures

Children’s Mental Health and Addictions

boys literacy
Ministry has published Me Read? No Way! A Practical Guide to Improving Boys’ Literacy Skills.

Based on international research

Features 13 strategies for improving boys’ literacy skills

Ministry funded teacher inquiry projects across the province to explore strategies for improving boys’ literacy skills and report results.

143 projects


Final report to be published spring 2009

Sequel to Me Read? No Way! based on inquiry projects to be published – Me Read? And How!

Key findings include:

Reading materials that interest and engage boys are essential

Talk and oral language are powerful

Direct and targeted instruction is important

It is important to listen to boys and provide them with choice

Boys respond well to lots of tactile and active learning experiences

Male role models can strongly influence boys’ attitudes to literacy activities

Boys’ Literacy
english language learners ell
Consulted with the field to develop Policies and Procedures for Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools, K-12

Completed English Language Learners Benchmarks study

Current Validation study of Steps To English Proficiency (STEP) underway

Developed evidence-based resources for use in field

Ongoing analysis of EQAO data to extract general trends and decide next steps

Initial planning for research on ELLs with Special Education needs

English Language Learners (ELL)

French-Language Learners

Two main programs:

ALF Program: reversing the effects of assimilation

PDF Program: integrating recent immigrants

Sources of information:

OnSis (ALF and PDF enrolments, country of birth)

EQAO (test results for ALF-PDF students)

StatCan (socio-demographic profiles of school communities, language spoken,immigration)

Research: University of Ottawa study: impact of implementation of ALF programs in school

urban aboriginal education pilot project
Announced in 2007, the Aboriginal Education Office launched the Urban Aboriginal Education Pilot Project in 2008.

This project will result in the development of urban Aboriginal education models for engagement with First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, families and/or communities that could be applied in different urban settings based on varying geographical and demographic circumstances.

These models will be developed as a result of in-depth inter-jurisdictional research and pilot projects carried out in three urban boards – Toronto DSB, Lakehead DSB and Simcoe DSB.

The first phase of the Project included a literature review and research focused on: retention; transitions; achievement; community/family outreach and engagement; challenges related to issues of high mobility; academic models; student support services

Each Pilot site has also commissioned research specific to the needs of their individual communities.

Urban Aboriginal Education Pilot Project
Achievement Gaps Have Economic and Social Impact (Statistics Canada Census 2006 Data for 2005 Earnings)
ontario ministry of education research and evaluation strategy

The Ontario Ministry of Education is committed to developing and implementing policies, programs, and practices that are evidence-based, research-informed, and connected to provincial education goals.


The Ministry of Education is focusing its research activities on supporting its priority education goals:

Increased student achievement

Reduced gaps in student achievement

Increased public confidence in publicly funded education


A shared strategy designed to be inclusive of staff from across all parts of the ministry and to foster collaboration with partners across the education and researchcommunities.

Ontario Ministry of Education Research and Evaluation Strategy
research strategy components
Leading the ministry’s research strategy

Applying research to inform policy, program and practice

Buildingresearch capacity

Fostering research collaboration through networking and partnerships

Communicating research findings

Contributing to an international body of knowledge

Research Strategy Components
leading the ministry s research strategy
What’s new?

Establishment of an Education Research and Evaluation Strategy Branch (July 2008) within the Corporate Management and Services Division of the Ministry of Education.

Branch incorporates all previous Research Strategy functions, plus a corporate role to strengthen the co-ordination and application of research, evaluation and data for evidence-based decision making.

Move to Research and Evaluation Strategy


ADMs Committee

Ministry Research Co-ordination Team

Research Strategy and Chief Research Officer functions and activities

Ontario Education Research Panel as research leaders and champions

Leading the Ministry’s Research Strategy
applying research to inform policy program and practice
What’s new?

Alignment within Ministry to strengthen application and co-ordination of research and evaluation in process.

Analysis of existing Ministry research and evaluation projects to identify linkage to priorities, reduce duplication, increase strategic application, and examine areas requiring further attention.

Currently approx. 50 research and evaluation projects active.

Development of Ministry Research and Evaluation Forward Plan in process. Aim to put in place from 2009-10 financial year onwards.

Major projects recently completed or nearing completion to be reported widely.

Applying Research to Inform Policy, Program and Practice
building research capacity
Building Research Capacity
  • What’s new?
  • Work in process with Association of Education Researchers Ontario (AERO) to examine school board research capacity and research use
  • The Institute of Education Leadership is supporting use of research focused on leadership
  • Teacher Learning and Leadership Program supporting professional development for experienced teachers, this can include teacher research
  • Interested in ways to engage graduate students with Research Strategy
  • Increased capacity building for Ministry staff – Evaluation and Research Learning Program, Research@EDU, Policy Research Connections series
  • Ongoing
  • Managing Information for Student Achievement (MISA) Professional Network Centres (PNCs) increasing board capacity for use of data and related research activities.
networking and partnerships
What’s new?

8 new members appointed to the Ontario Education Research Panel.Co-chairs for 2009-10: Doris McWhorter and Joan Green.

Research Strategy Speaker Series launched to profile academic speakers on priority topics to present to Ministry staff.

Further development of regional, provincial, national and international research networks, e.g. regional research symposia held across majority of Ontario regions in 2008.

Enhancements to Annual Symposium based on feedback from 2008 Symposium

Networking and Partnerships
What’s new?

Increased profile of research on Ministry website through ‘Research in Education’ section

Move to increase communication of Ministry funded research, e.g. public release of major evaluations

Developing knowledge mobilization strategy for Ministry

contributing to research knowledge
What’s new?

Ministry presentations and papers at research conferences, including joint presentations with researchers and educators

Participation in international benchmarking and exchanges

Involvement in pan-Canadian discussions about research and data agendas across provincial governments


Contributions to speaking engagements, workshops, seminars, conferences and events

Research, evaluation and data input to Ministry documents and reports

Contributing to Research Knowledge