How is my child assessed to start school in Ontario?

Generally, secondary school students who have recently arrived from other countries may have an initial assessment before they can enter a school. Usually, elementary school students are placed in a grade according to age.

Not all school boards provide a formal assessment, but it is useful to know what to expect. Find a list of school reception centres in Ontario.

The purpose of the initial assessment is to find out about students' educational background and English skills so they can be placed in the right grade.

The assessment covers two areas: mathematics and language.

The mathematics assessment is based on the standard requirements for Ontario schools. The assessment takes into account a student's ability to communicate in English. The student may be able to complete part of the test in his or her first language.

The language assessment usually starts with an interview. The purpose of the interview is to test the general linguistic skills of a student in the language he or she has been taught. That's why the interview is often held in a student's first language. The next steps of the assessment include evaluating oral, reading and writing skills in English.

Based on the initial assessment, you child will be placed in a program that matches his or her educational experience and achievements. Information is sent to your child's school to help teachers understand what he or she has already learned. If you have your child's previous report card or textbook, or any other school information that might be helpful, please bring it to the centre.

Many students require ESL instruction and are placed in appropriate language classes. Even if your child has very little English, he or she will be placed in at least one mainstream class, for example, a physical education class, to allow your child to interact with English-speaking peers.

If the results of the assessment indicate that your child will succeed in mainstream classes, he or she may be placed right away at the appropriate grade level.

The initial placement is not final. Schools monitor and revise the placement over a period of time.

Many community agencies can help you with registering your child for school. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

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Last updated: October 29, 2015 4001195