Ontario elementary schools keep getting better at literacy instruction but lose ground in developing math skills
TORONTO, Aug. 28, 2013 /CNW/ -
Ontario elementary schools keep getting better at helping students to become good readers and to communicate well when they write. However, elementary school math programs are losing ground in the effort to help students achieve and maintain math success—particularly in Grades 4 through 6.
As students advance through school, their progress is tracked on three provincial math tests (in Grades 3, 6 and 9) and three provincial literacy tests (in Grades 3, 6 and 10). The tracking results indicate that early achievement often predicts achievement in secondary school, and early struggles, if not corrected, can compound year after year.
Results of Students in Elementary Schools
- Student achievement in reading continues to rise.
- 68% of Grade 3 students and 77% of Grade 6 students are now meeting the provincial reading standard, an increase of seven percentage points and eight percentage points, respectively, over the past five years.
- Elementary schools are getting better at helping students who did not meet the standard when they were in Grade 3 to improve and meet it in Grade 6.
- In 2009, schools helped 39% of the students who had not met the reading standard in Grade 3 to improve and meet it in Grade 6; whereas this year, schools were able to help more than half (51%) to improve and meet the reading standard in those intervening three years.
- The achievement of students whose first language is not English is quickly catching up to the general population.
- 61% of Grade 3 and 68% of Grade 6 English language learners are now meeting the provincial reading standard.
- Achievement in writing continues to rise.
- 77% of students in Grade 3 and 76% of students in Grade 6 can now make themselves clearly understood when writing and are using appropriate grammar, spelling and punctuation at the expected level.
- This represents a nine-percentage-point increase over the past five years for students in both grades meeting the provincial writing standard.
- There are now five years of trending decline in the percentage of students meeting the provincial math standard on both provincial elementary assessments.
- 67% of Grade 3 students met the standard in 2013 compared to 70% in 2009, and 57% of Grade 6 students met the standard in 2013 compared to 63% in 2009.
- Elementary schools are losing an increasing number of students in math achievement between Grades 4 and 6.
- In each of the last five years, there have been increasing numbers of students who no longer meet the provincial math standard in Grade 6 despite having met it in Grade 3.
- This year, almost one in five (19%) Grade 6 students fit that description.
Results of Students in Secondary Schools
Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics
- 84% of students enrolled in the academic math course met the provincial standard this year, a seven-percentage-point increase over the past five years.
- 71% of Grade 9 students are enrolled in the academic math course.
- 44% of students enrolled in the applied math course met the provincial standard this year, a six-percentage-point increase over the past five years.
- 29% of Grade 9 students are enrolled in the applied math course.
- In the academic math course, 93% of the students who met the provincial math standard in Grade 3 and met it in Grade 6 met it again in Grade 9, whereas 49% of the students who had not met the standard in Grade 3 and had not met it in Grade 6 also did not meet it in Grade 9.
- In the applied math course, 70% of the students who had not met the standard in Grade 3 and had not met in Grade 6 also did not meet it in Grade 9.
Grade 10—Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)
- 82% of participating students were successful on the OSSLT on their first try.
- Over three-quarters of participating students (76%) who were unsuccessful on the OSSLT on their first try this year had also not met the provincial reading standard when they were in Grade 6.
"Ontario elementary schools keep getting better at developing the literacy skills that are so fundamental to our students' long-term success. As a province, though, we still struggle to find the right formula for helping more students succeed in math."
—Bruce Rodrigues, Chief Executive Officer, EQAO
"For students, a solid foundation in math is essential to success in today's world. Math is all around us, and as a province and country, we simply must help the next generation excel in math if we're to deliver on all the promise the 21st century has to offer."
—Bruce Rodrigues, Chief Executive Officer, EQAO
On September 18, EQAO will release individual reports for each elementary school and its board, as well as a full provincial report on the elementary school assessments.
On September 25, school and board reports will be released for the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics as well as for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. A full provincial report on the secondary school assessments will also be released on this date.
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EQAO's tests measure student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to Ontario Curriculum expectations. The resulting data provide accountability and a gauge of quality in Ontario's publicly funded education system. By providing this important evidence about learning, EQAO acts as a catalyst for increasing the success of Ontario students.
The objective and reliable results from EQAO's tests complement the information obtained from classroom and other assessments to provide students, parents, teachers and administrators with a clear and comprehensive picture of student achievement and a basis for targeted improvement planning at the individual, school, school board and provincial levels. EQAO helps build capacity for the appropriate use of data by providing resources that educators, parents, policy-makers and others in the education community can use to improve learning and teaching. EQAO distributes an individual report to each student who writes a test, and posts school, school board and provincial results on its Web site.
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