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All students in Grades 3 and 6 write a test conducted by Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), which measures proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

A former Ontario high-school principal will face charges of professional misconduct later this month on allegations that she tampered with the provincial literacy test.

Christine Vellinga, who was a principal with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, north of Toronto, is alleged in a notice-of-hearing document to have, among other things, called 21 students back after the test was over to complete parts they had missed, and directed them to specific areas of the booklet. Andrew Burke, the acting vice-principal and a teacher, and teacher Gregory Quinn face similar charges.

A disciplinary panel of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) is scheduled to hear Ms. Vellinga's case on Jan. 26. Hearing dates for Mr. Burke and Mr. Quinn have not yet been set.

The college did not disclose the name of the school.

All students in Grades 3 and 6 write a test conducted by Ontario's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), which measures proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics. High-school students are assessed in math in Grade 9 and, in Grade 10, write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), which measures whether they are meeting the minimum standard for literacy. Passing the OSSLT is one of the requirements to earn a high-school diploma.

After the test, the booklets are supposed to be collected and kept in a secure environment before they are returned to EQAO.

It is alleged that in March, 2016, Ms. Vellinga "inappropriately administered" the OSSLT by reviewing test booklets to identify incomplete ones, according to the OCT's notice of hearing. The college alleged that Ms. Vellinga called 21 students back.

Ms. Vellinga is also alleged to have directed the acting vice-principal, Mr. Burke, to instruct students to complete specific parts of the test booklet.

She is alleged to have told one student, "You were never here."

Mr. Burke is accused of reviewing test booklets, providing the principal with the incomplete booklets and directing the students who were called back to the parts of the test they had not done. It is alleged that Mr. Quinn reviewed test booklets to identify the ones that were incomplete and returned those ones to the principal.

A discipline committee can impose penalties after a finding of professional misconduct that range from suspending teaching certificates to fines.

The Catholic Principals' Council of Ontario said it would be inappropriate to comment on a case in front of the disciplinary panel.

Pauline Stevenson, a spokeswoman for the school board, said she could not comment on the specifics of the case or the individuals involved.

Ms. Vellinga was suspended for 20 days without pay in 2016, and demoted to a vice-principal position at another school. Mr. Burke was suspended without pay for 10 days, and Mr. Quinn was suspended for five days without pay, according to the notice of hearing.

"The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board was very concerned when it learned of allegations of test tampering," Ms. Stevenson said in an e-mail statement. "We immediately conducted an investigation, reported the incident to the Ontario College of Teachers and addressed the issue directly with those involved."

Standardized testing in Ontario has been the subject of debate, with teacher unions questioning its merits. Supporters say it measures how students are learning the curriculum and keeps the education system accountable. But critics say some people use it to rank schools, and that it puts pressure on children, teachers and administrators, and has a negative effect on the learning environment and student well-being.

Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, said her union believes the test should be eliminated and the funds redirected to the classroom.

"We believe resources currently being allocated to [standardized testing] initiatives should be reallocated to the classroom to directly support student achievement on a day-to-day basis," Ms. Stuart said.

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