A Canadian court has ruled that a mandatory math proficiency test is unconstitutional and should not prohibit those who fail to pass it numerous times from teaching children, as it unfairly affects non-white candidates.
The Ontario Divisional Court ordered the Ontario College of Teachers last week to “grant certification to teacher candidates who have not passed the Mathematics Proficiency Test,” citing “disparities in success rates of standardized testing based on race.”
The Mathematics Proficiency Test violates s. 15(1) of the Charter, is not justified under s. 1, and is unconstitutional
Noting that there is an “under-representation of racialized teachers in Ontario schools,” the judgment argued that “racialized students benefit from being taught by racialized teachers” and that “the deleterious effects of the MPT on racialized teacher candidates who have been disproportionately unsuccessful on the test outweigh its benefits.”
The court decided that there were viable alternatives to the Mathematics Proficiency Test which “appear to be less impairing and at least as effective,” including a requirement to have performed a “minimum number of hours of math instruction or a math course” for a Bachelor of Education degree.
The Ontario Teachers’ Federation praised the court’s decision, claiming in a statement that “there is no research to suggest that a standardized test would improve student outcomes or enhance teacher pedagogy.”
Some social media users, however, questioned the decision and argued that it would lower the standard of teachers in Ontario.
“Your Ontario teacher no longer needs to pass basic math to teach basic math,” tweeted conservative commentator Jeffrey Blehar, while Quillette editor Jonathan Kay joked, “Ontario teachers union very excited that its members won’t have to know math. Another great day for Ontario students.”