ONTARIO'S ELEMENTARY STUDENTS MAKING NOTABLE GAINS IN READING AND WRITING, AS
ARE SECONDARY STUDENTS IN MATH. TRACKING STUDENTS FROM GRADE 3 TO 6 TO 9
REVEALS IMPORTANCE OF INTERVENTIONS FOR THOSE WHO STRUGGLE.

TORONTO, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - Today the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released 2010 provincial-level results of student achievement on its two elementary-school assessments of reading, writing and mathematics, written in Grades 3 and 6, and its secondary-school assessment of mathematics, written in Grade 9.

Over the past five years, the results have shown notable gains in the percentage of Grade 3 students meeting the provincial standard in writing and in the percentage of Grade 6 students doing so in both reading and writing. Over the same period, there has been little to no improvement in the percentage of students meeting the provincial standard in Grade 3 reading or in Grade 6 mathematics. However, with the exception of these two areas, all other results on the primary- and junior-division assessments now show between 70% and 72% of students meeting the provincial standard. 

Turning to secondary schools, there has also been a significant increase in the percentage of Grade 9 students in both the academic and applied math courses meeting the provincial standard—although most students in the applied course—60% of them—are still not doing so. A complete table of results by grade and subject can be found in the backgrounder.

"Year after year, EQAO's assessment results provide significant indicators of the public education system's collective success in helping students learn the key skills that are required to build successful futures in the 21st century," said Dr. Brian Desbiens, Chair of EQAO's Board of Directors. "There are certainly areas of progress worth celebrating, but there also remain areas that will require further attention and system-wide interventions if we are to see continued progress."

This year, for the first time, EQAO was also able to track individual student progress in mathematics over three provincial assessments. This analysis maps the progress of the students EQAO tested in mathematics as they advanced from Grade 3 in 2004 to Grade 6 in 2007 and Grade 9 in 2010.

The main finding of this analysis is that early evidence and interventions are key: early success often carries forward into later grades, whereas many students who struggle early on continue struggling throughout their schooling. Notably

  • students who meet the provincial standard early in their schooling are most likely to maintain that high achievement in secondary school. Of the students who had met the provincial standard in both Grade 3 and Grade 6, 91% met it again in Grade 9 in the academic mathematics course and 75% met it again in Grade 9 in the applied mathematics course.
  • students who do not meet the provincial standard early in their schooling are most likely to struggle in later grades. Of the students who had met the provincial standard in neither Grade 3 nor Grade 6, only 51% met the standard in Grade 9 in the academic mathematics course and only 29% did in the applied mathematics course.
  • identifying struggling students early and providing support makes a difference. Students who did not meet the standard in Grade 3 but improved to meet it in Grade 6 were considerably more likely to carry that success forward into Grade 9 than students who did not meet the standard in Grade 6. Of the students who had not met the provincial standard in Grade 3 but met it in Grade 6, 79% met it in Grade 9 in the academic mathematics course and 59% met the standard in Grade 9 in the applied mathematics course.

These results support the findings of previous analyses conducted by EQAO that tracked student progress in reading and writing from Grades 3 to 6 and from Grades 6 to 10 and also those of EQAO analyses of student progress in math from Grades 3 to 6 and from Grades 6 to 9.

"These data reinforce the necessity of supporting students in achieving mastery of the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy at every stage of their schooling," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer.

On September 15, EQAO will release student achievement results for each school and school board in Ontario. Schools and boards have their results under embargo until this date and will be able to speak about their results beginning on September 15.

On the same day, EQAO will release two comprehensive provincial reports titled Ontario Student Achievement: EQAO's Provincial Elementary School Report on the Results of the 2009-2010 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Primary Division (Grades 1-3) and Junior Division (Grades 4-6) and Ontario Student Achievement: EQAO's Provincial Secondary School Report on the Results of the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics and the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. The provincial reports will provide contextual data, summaries of findings, strategies for success and profiles of successful schools. All information will be posted on EQAO's Web site, www.eqao.com, as it is released to the public.

Samples of the primary-division, junior-division and Grade 9 mathematics assessments that students wrote in 2010 are now available on EQAO's Web site, along with the answer keys and sample written student responses at each performance level.

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BACKGROUNDER

Ontario Student Achievement Over Time

EQAO Assessment
Component or Version
Percentage at Levels 3 and 4
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Change
over
5
years
Grade 3 Reading 62% 62% 61% 61% 62% 0%
Grade 6 Reading 64% 64% 66% 69% 72% +8%
Grade 3 Writing 64% 64% 66% 68% 70% +6%
Grade 6 Writing 61% 61% 67% 67% 70% +9%
Grade 3 Mathematics 68% 69% 68% 70% 71% +3%
Grade 6 Mathematics 61% 59% 61% 63% 61% 0%
Grade 9 Applied Mathematics 35% 35% 34% 38% 40% +5%
Grade 9 Academic Mathematics 71% 71% 75% 77% 82% +11%

Cohort Tracking Results from Grade 3 (2004) and Grade 6 (2007) to Grade 9 (2010) by Grade 9 Course

  • This year, for the first time, EQAO had the ability to track the mathematics achievement of individual students as they progressed from Grade 3 to Grade 6 to Grade 9.
  • EQAO conducted this cohort tracking study on the students for whom it had results for all three previous assessments (Grade 3 in 2004, Grade 6 in 2007 and Grade 9 in 2010):
    • Of the 47 566 students enrolled in the applied course in 2010, EQAO had previous assessment results for 31 376 (66%).
    • Of the 101 268 students enrolled in the academic course in 2010, EQAO had previous assessment results for 78 417 (77%).

By Grade 9 Applied Mathematics Course (31 376 students)

  • Of the 5603 students enrolled in the Grade 9 applied mathematics course in 2010 who had met the standard in both Grade 3 and Grade 6,
    • 75% (4198) also met it in Grade 9 and
    • 25% (1405) did not meet it in Grade 9.
  • Of the 3303 students enrolled in the Grade 9 applied mathematics course in 2010 who had risen to the standard from Grade 3 to Grade 6,
    • 59% (1961) met it in Grade 9 and
    • 41% (1342) did not meet it in Grade 9.
  • Of the 7754 students enrolled in the Grade 9 applied mathematics course in 2010 who had dropped from the standard from Grade 3 to Grade 6,
    • 48% (3686) met it in Grade 9 and
    • 52% (4068) did not meet it in Grade 9.
  • Of the 14 716 students enrolled in the Grade 9 applied mathematics course in 2010 who had not met the standard in either Grade 3 or Grade 6,
    • 29% (4236) met it in Grade 9 and
    • 71% (10 480) did not meet it in Grade 9.

By Grade 9 Academic Mathematics Course (78 417 students)

  • Of the 53 532 students enrolled in the Grade 9 academic mathematics course in 2010 who had met the standard in both Grade 3 and Grade 6,
    • 91% (48 807) also met it in Grade 9 and
    • 9% (4725) did not meet it in Grade 9.
  • Of the 8 560 students enrolled in the Grade 9 academic mathematics course in 2010 who had risen to the standard from Grade 3 to Grade 6,
    • 79% (6762) met it in Grade 9 and
    • 21% (1798) did not meet it in Grade 9.
  • Of the 8 966 students enrolled in the Grade 9 academic mathematics course in 2010 who had dropped from the standard from Grade 3 to Grade 6,
    • 64% (5720) met it in Grade 9 and
    • 36% (3246) did not meet it in Grade 9.
  • Of the 7 359 students enrolled in the Grade 9 academic mathematics course in 2010 who had not met the standard in either Grade 3 or Grade 6,
    • 51% (3778) met it in Grade 9 and
    • 49% (3581) did not meet it in Grade 9.

About EQAO

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) was established in 1996 based on a recommendation of Ontario's Royal Commission on Learning. The commission consulted extensively with teachers, parents, students and taxpayers. It concluded that province-wide assessments would contribute to greater quality and accountability in the publicly funded school system. EQAO was created as an independent agency to conduct the assessments and gather objective information from our schools.

EQAO plays an important role in Ontario education by conducting province-wide tests at key points in every student's primary, junior and secondary education and by reporting the results. The tests are designed, administered and scored in partnership with Ontario's educators and they measure student performance in reading, writing and mathematics based on the expectations set out in The Ontario Curriculum.

In a 2009 report, the Auditor General of Ontario confirmed that EQAO tests reflect the provincial curriculum expectations fairly and accurately, are consistent in difficulty from one year to the next and are administered and marked so as to ensure that their results are valid, consistent and reliable indicators of student achievement.

Results from EQAO testing are an important indicator of student learning and measure achievement in relation to a common provincial standard. The objective and reliable information gained through these assessments adds to the current knowledge about how Ontario students are doing and has become an important tool for improvement planning at the student, school, school board and provincial levels.

In the 2009-2010 school year, there were

  • 127 789 Grade 3 students in 3375 schools;
  • 134 294 Grade 6 students in 3194 schools;
  • 101 268 Grade 9 students in academic mathematics in 686 schools and
  • 47 566 Grade 9 students in applied mathematics in 714 schools.

The Provincial Standard

The four levels of achievement that EQAO uses to report student results are aligned with the four levels of achievement used by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education has established Level 3 as the provincial standard. Level 3 represents the range from B- to B+ for students in elementary school and the range from 70% to 79% for students in secondary school.

Meeting the standard means a student has a solid grasp of the required knowledge and skills, which is a good indication that he or she will be ready for work in the next grade. The standard is rigorously maintained from year to year, and EQAO assessments are developed and scored in a way that ensures the results can be compared appropriately from one year to the next.

Individual Student Results

Students who participated in the assessments last spring will receive an Individual Student Report (ISR) that shows the student's achievement in relation to the provincial standard. The ISR for students who wrote the junior-division assessment will also show their results on the primary-division assessment if they wrote it in 2007. In addition, it will provide parents with a summary of school, board and provincial results.

ISRs will be in schools the week of September 20 in order to be sent home with students.

Testing the Curriculum

The provincial tests given at the end of the primary division (Grade 3) and the junior division (Grade 6) assess students relative to the expectations in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Language (revised 2006) and The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Mathematics (revised 2005), which outline the knowledge and skills students should have acquired by the corresponding stages of their schooling.

EQAO assessments measure how well students have met the provincial curriculum expectations. For example, Grade 3 and Grade 6 students are assessed in

  • reading—using a variety of reading strategies and conventions, understanding concepts, making inferences and connecting ideas;
  • writing—using writing strategies and language conventions, understanding assigned tasks, organizing ideas and communicating with the reader and
  • mathematics—demonstrating knowledge and skills in the five strands of mathematics: number sense and numeration, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, patterning and algebra, and data management and probability.

The Grade 9 mathematics test is based on the expectations for student knowledge and performance by the end of Grade 9 in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: Mathematics (revised 2005). The purpose of the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics is to assess the level at which students in the applied and academic mathematics courses are meeting Grade 9 curriculum expectations. Students enrolled in Grade 9 academic and applied mathematics must demonstrate knowledge and skills in the same three areas—number sense and algebra, linear relations, measurement and geometry—and for the academic course they must also do so in analytic geometry.

Samples of all EQAO assessments can be viewed at www.eqao.com.

SOURCE Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)

For further information: For further information:

and to arrange interviews, please contact

Katia Collette

Communications Officer
416-212-7047
katia.collette@eqao.com

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Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)

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