Evaluation… of what?

We refer here to the interpretation retained by some of Article 15(4) * of the Québec Education Act, which holds that the object of evaluation should be the curriculum and not what the child has learned. Thus, with this interpretation, if a family bases their education on the Ministry curriculum, the instruction the child is provided with and his/her educational experience should be deemed equivalent (by the school board) to that which is provided at school, and the family should therefore be left alone without evaluating what the child has actually learned. In other words, the application of the law with regards to evaluation should stop here. However, the tenants of this interpretation do admit that this would be unacceptable for society and there should also be a “verification” of the educational experience and instruction provided (therefore, an evaluation of what the child has learned). We deem this interpretation (i.e., the curriculum is the object of evaluation) to be potentially detrimental to families who do not base their education on Ministry curriculum and who do not use educational materials approved by the Ministry. For these families, their curriculum could easily be judged non equivalent to the instruction and educational experience provided in school. This has been experienced in other Canadian provinces, more recently in Newfoundland and Alberta. If we agree to give school boards the authority to evaluate our curriculum, we also grant them the authority to accept or to reject our educational choices. We thus open the door to ultimately being dictated what we should be teaching and not only for core subjects. This would definitely be State intrusion into our homes. This is one of the reasons ** for which it is obvious to us that the evaluation of the educational experience and instruction provided, or the judgment thereof, should be about what the child has accomplished (i.e., the results of the educational experience and the instruction provided). We are not referring here to an obligation of results or performance since it would be out of place for school boards to require something they themselves cannot guarantee. This evaluation need not be exhaustive either and we consider that the evaluation methods proposed to the Ministry *** are acceptable to parent-educators as a whole. Practically, this is to demonstrate that the child is indeed receiving an education. We have briefly exposed the distinction between homeschooling and public school at home, as well as current tendencies in Québec which could contribute to establishing public school at home. In conclusion, the choices parent-educators will make could be determining in the emergence of one or the other of the two models. We believe that this is a crucial issue for the homeschooling freedoms of the future. * Section 15 (4) of the Education Act excuses the following students from attending public schools: “A student who is provided at home, instruction and a learning experience, which, according to an evaluation made by or for the school board, are equivalent to what is provided at school.” * * We could add that we do not agree with this interpretation for these additional reasons:

  • there is no legal precedent to support this interpretation;
  • it has no credibility for people in the educational field (MELS, school boards, etc.) because, there it is a question of evaluation in education, it is obvious to the parties concerned that we are dealing first and foremost with bringing a judgment, by some sort of method, upon what a child has learned;
  • practically, with this interpretation, we end up with two evaluations: one for the curriculum and one for what the child has accomplished.

* * * The evaluation methods:

  • presentation of portfolio, or
  • presentation of evaluations administered by parents, or
  • presentation of evaluations administered by a third party, or
  • participation in exams administered by the schoolboard, or
  • any other means agreed to by parents and school board.

See also : Evaluation by Portfolio Preparing a Portfolio (PDF Document) Presentation of a Portfolio By the Child