Ontario students sustain improvements in reading, writing and math



    TORONTO, Aug. 29 /CNW/ - Today the Education Quality and Accountability
Office (EQAO) releases highlights of student achievement on the 2007
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 Grade 3, Grade 6 and Grade 9 students who wrote the tests last school year
maintained the improvements of five to 14 percentage points made in these core
subjects over the past five years.
    "Today's results tell us that a large majority of students are mastering
the reading, writing and math skills expected at their age and grade level and
that the focused attention schools have been giving to these subjects
continues to deliver strong outcomes," said Jerry Ponikvar, Vice-Chair of
EQAO's board of directors. "Particularly considerable improvements have been
made among students who are learning English as a second language (ESL) and
those with special needs, suggesting that the supports provided to these
groups of students are having a positive effect."
    Over the past five years, the percentage of Grade 3 students who
performed at or above the provincial standard
    
    -   increased from 50% to 62% in reading;
    -   increased from 55% to 64% in writing and
    -   increased from 57% to 69% in mathematics.

    Over the past five years, the percentage of Grade 6 students who performed
at or above the provincial standard
    -   increased from 56% to 64% in reading;
    -   increased from 54% to 61% in writing and
    -   increased from 53% to 59% in mathematics.

    Over the past five years, in Grade 9, the percentage at or above the
provincial standard
    -   among students in academic mathematics courses increased from 66% to
        71% and
    -   among students in applied mathematics courses increased from 21% to
        35%.
    

    Results among Grade 3 and Grade 6 ESL and English literacy development
(ELD) students continued an upward trend, with gains of 12 to 20 percentage
points over the past five years. Students in these grades with special needs
have also improved by three to eight percentage points over the past five
years.
    "EQAO data have become a catalyst for annual reflection and discussion
among all of Ontario's education partners," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO's
Chief Executive Officer. "The education community really takes ownership of
these achievement results and uses the information to identify and focus
attention on student needs. That focus is at the heart of the sustained
improvement we're seeing all across the province."
    On September 19, EQAO will release a comprehensive report entitled
Ontario Student Achievement: EQAO's Provincial Report on the Results of the
2006-2007 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. On the
same day, EQAO will also release student achievement results by school and
school board. Schools and boards will have their results under embargo until
that date. They will be able to speak about their results beginning on
September 19.
    The information will be posted on EQAO's Web site, www.eqao.com, as it is
released to the public.

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    BACKGROUNDER
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    About EQAO

    The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) was established in
1996 based on a recommendation from Ontario's Royal Commission on Learning.
The all-party 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 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 2006-2007 school
year by

    
    -   131 012 Grade 3 students in 3378 schools;
    -   145 901 Grade 6 students in 3195 schools;
    -   103 011 Grade 9 students in academic mathematics in 679 schools and
    -   49 056 Grade 9 students in applied mathematics in 712 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. The following are brief descriptions of the levels:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Achievement Level     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
                          standard
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Student Results

    Students who participated in the assessments last spring will receive an
Individual Student Report (ISR), which 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 2004.
    All ISRs provide parents with a summary of school, board and provincial
results.
    ISRs will be in schools the week of September 24 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 at 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 set 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 their respective mathematics programs. 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
geometry.

    EQAO Test Development

    Each year, over 3000 Ontario educators play a central role in creating
EQAO student assessments by participating in test development, test-question
review and selection and the scoring of the assessments.
    Ongoing research into national and international best practices for
large-scale assessment, and regular consultation with a panel of experts in
the field allows EQAO to deliver on its commitment to offer world-class
assessment programs.





For further information:

For further information: and to arrange interviews, please contact Phil
Serruya, Manager of Communications and Public Affairs, (416) 325-2230,
phil.serruya@eqao.com

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Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)

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