Ontario Students Maintain Overall Levels of Achievement and Show Gains in Writing and Grade 9 Math: 40% of students who did not meet the reading standard in Grade 3 did in Grade 6.

    TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - Today the Education Quality and Accountability
Office (EQAO) released provincial-level highlights of student achievement on
the 2008 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Primary Division
(Grades 1-3) and Junior Division (Grades 4-6), and the Grade 9 Assessment of
Mathematics. Results show that the gains made in student achievement over time
have been maintained in all grades and subjects and that new progress has been
made in some areas. The percentage of Grade 6 students meeting or exceeding
the provincial standard in writing has increased by six percentage points
since last year to 67%, an increase of 13 percentage points over the past five
years. Also, for the first time since the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics
was introduced in the 2000-2001 school year, 75% of students in the academic
program have met or exceeded the provincial standard. This represents a
four-percentage-point increase over last year and a seven-percentage-point
increase over the past five years.
    Data from EQAO's province-wide assessments also show that a significant
number of students who underperformed in 2005 when they were in Grade 3 have
now achieved the provincial standard in Grade 6. For example, 40% of students
who did not meet the reading standard when in Grade 3 did this year in Grade
6. EQAO data such as these provide insight into student learning and serve as
a catalyst for annual reflection and discussion among all of Ontario's
education partners.
    "In past years, student writing in elementary school was identified as an
area of concern and this year's Grade 6 student results are proof of what
focused attention and intervention can accomplish once an issue has been
defined," said Dr. Brian Desbiens, Chair of the EQAO Board of Directors. "The
same approach must continue to be used to target the areas of low achievement
we're continuing to see--most notably among students in the Grade 9 applied
math program. About two-thirds of students in this program are not meeting the
provincial standard and this absolutely must be addressed."
    "EQAO assessments are directly linked to the learning expectations set
out in The Ontario Curriculum, so student performance on these tests provides
the education system with important information about where to focus
attention," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's Chief Executive Officer. "The
results also allow us to see where in the province improvements are being
made, so that we can learn from the school communities that are making these
changes and share effective strategies with educators elsewhere in the
    On September 17, EQAO will release student achievement results by school
and school board. Schools and boards will have their results under embargo
until this date. They will be able to speak about their results beginning on
September 17. On the same day, EQAO will release a comprehensive report titled
Ontario Student Achievement: EQAO's Provincial Report on the Results of the
2007-2008 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Primary Division
(Grades 1-3) and Junior Division (Grades 4-6), and the Grade 9 Assessment of
Mathematics. The Provincial Report will provide contextual data, a summary 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.
    Currently available on EQAO's Web site are the primary division, junior
division and Grade 9 assessments that students wrote in 2008, along with the
answer keys and sample student written responses at each performance level.

    Aussi disponible en français


    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 measure student
performance in reading, writing and mathematics based on the expectations set
out in The Ontario Curriculum.
    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.

    The English-language assessments were written in the 2007-2008 school
year by

        - 128 660 Grade 3 students in 3385 schools;
        - 140 420 Grade 6 students in 3199 schools;
        - 100 823 Grade 9 students in academic mathematics in 686 schools and
        - 47 817 Grade 9 students in applied mathematics in 709 schools.

    The Provincial Standard

    EQAO's assessments are designed, administered and scored in partnership
with Ontario's educators to directly measure the expectations set out in The
Ontario Curriculum. These assessments provide a uniform, non-biased evaluation
of student learning in Ontario's publicly funded education system. The
provincial standard of achievement represents mastery of the knowledge and
skills students are expected to demonstrate. That standard is rigorously
maintained from year to year and the assessments are developed and scored in a
way that ensures the results can be compared appropriately from one year to
the next.
    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. The following are brief descriptions of the levels:

    Achievement           Definition
    Level 4               Achievement exceeds the provincial standard
    Level 3               Achievement meets the provincial standard
    Level 2               Achievement approaches the provincial standard
    Level 1               Achievement falls much below the provincial

    Student Results

    Students who participated in the assessments last spring will receive an
Individual Student Report (ISR) that shows the child'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 2005.
    All ISRs provide parents with a summary of school, board and provincial
    ISRs will be in schools the week of September 22 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) are based on The Ontario Curriculum, Grades
1-8: Language (revised 2006) and The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8:
Mathematics (revised 2005) and their expectations outlining the knowledge and
skills students should have acquired by these stages of their schooling.

    EQAO assessments measure how well students have met the provincial
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 Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9
and 10: Mathematics (revised 2005) and the expectations for student knowledge
and performance by the end of Grade 9. The purpose of the Grade 9 Assessment
of Mathematics is to assess the level at which students in the applied and
academic programs are meeting Grade 9 curriculum expectations in mathematics.
Grade 9 academic and applied students must demonstrate knowledge and skills in
the same three areas-number sense and algebra; linear relations; measurement
and geometry-and academic students must also show knowledge in analytic

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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