Ontario students’ math scores keep slipping, but a little more slowly

Sep 2, 2017 by

Three years after the Ontario government decided to take young students’ poor math skills seriously, provincial tests show they’re still getting worse.

If there’s good news in the latest findings from the Education Quality and Accountability Office, released Wednesday it’s that the decline has slowed. Maybe the Education Ministry’s assault on bad math is beginning to work. If so, it’s only beginning — and there’s reason to doubt that’s what’s happening.

“Our elementary-school students report that they are less confident in their math skills, but that they want to do well in math,” the agency’s chief executive, Norah Marsh, said in some pretty bland written comments along with the figures.

It’s good that they want to do well in math. It’s also appropriate that they’re not confident in their skills.

The EQAO gives annual tests on reading, writing and ‘rithmetic to students in Grades 3, 6 and 9. Reading and writing scores are decent all around: 70 to 80 per cent of junior students meet the provincial standards in those areas and the trend is either stable or gently improving. (The agency releases data a chunk at a time, getting more detailed as it goes. These are provincewide stats, with board-by-board and school-by-school results due next month.)

The reading and writing results are all markedly better now than they were a decade ago. In math, not so.

Just 62 per cent of third-graders met the provincial standard for math when they wrote their tests last year, down from 68 per cent a decade ago and one point worse than the year before. For students in Grade 6, it’s worse: Only 50 per cent of them met the standard, down from 61 per cent a decade ago. At least that number was stable from year to year.

Source: Reevely: Ontario students’ math scores keep slipping, but a little more slowly | National Post

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