County elementary students struggling with math
By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 28, 2017
Elementary school students in Haliburton County are struggling in mathematics, the latest round of results from the Education Quality and Accountability Office show.
EQAO standardized tests are issued to Ontario students in Grade 3, 6 and 9 each year, the tests focusing on core subjects of reading, writing and mathematics.
Results are shown in grouped, combined achievement for two-year periods.
At the Grade 6 level, 47 per cent of students at ASES were at or above the provincial standard in math for the 2015-2017 period, down from 60 per cent for the 2014-2016 period.
For Grade 6 students at J. Douglas Elementary School in Haliburton, 38 per cent of students met or exceeded the provincial standard, down from 43 per cent.
Seventeen per cent of Grade 6 students at Wilberforce Elementary School met or exceeded the standard, down from 27 per cent.
There have been calls recently for the Ministry of Education to revert to the traditional teaching method in math, as standardized test scores have slid. Since the 2009-2010 school year, the province has been using what is referred to as a “discovery math” curriculum, which relies less on the simple repetition of problem-solving that was the basis of the traditional math curriculum.
At the Grade 3 level at ASES, 81 per cent of students met or exceeded the standard in mathematics, up from 79. At Stuart Baker Elementary School, the figure was 65 per cent, down from 69 per cent during the 2014-2016 results period.
At Cardiff Elementary School, 37 per cent of Grade 3 students were at or above the provincial standard for math, up from 33 per cent.
Math results were down at the high school.
At Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, 49 per cent of Grade 9 students in applied mathematics met or exceeded the standard for the 2015-2017, versus 53 per cent during the 2014-2016 period.
At the academic level, those figures were 72 per cent and 86 per cent, respectively.
In reading, 82 per cent of ASES Grade 3 students met or exceeded the standard, down from 86 per cent during the previous results period. Eighty-seven per cent of ASES Grade 6 students met the standard, down from 94. At Stuart Baker Elementary School, 68 per cent of Grade 3 students met or exceeded the reading standard, up from 61 per cent. At JDH, those figures were 74 per cent, up from 72, and at Wilberforce Elementary School, 61 per cent, down slightly from 62.
In writing, 82 per cent of ASES Grade 3 students met or exceeded the standard, down from 83. At the Grade 6 level at ASES, 81 per cent of students met the standard, down from 93 per cent during the previous period.
At JDH, the figures were 67 per cent, down from 68, and 48 per cent of Grade 6 students at Wilberforce Elementary School met or exceeded the provincial standard in writing, up from 46 per cent.
Across the Trillium Lakelands School board, results were improved for Grade 3 students in general.
“Significant advancement has been seen across Grade 3 reading, writing, and math in comparison to 2016 data,” a press release from the board reads.
While there was also progress in Grade 6 reading and writing results across the board, Grade 6 math results were down overall throughout the Trillium Lakelands District School Board.
“We are thrilled with the results from our primary grades, especially Grade 3 math where we are above the provincial average,” board director of education Larry Hope said in a press release. “Our focused support for junior grade teachers will continue to help increase math content knowledge in a variety of ways.”
The release goes on to explain changes that are being implemented when it comes to mathematics.
“The 2016-2017 school year saw the introduction of a renewed math strategy for TLDSB, which included a focus on students with special needs – particularly in Grade 6 math where there is room for improvement,” it reads. “The board will continue to focus on professional development in junior grades in math, and allow teachers to make classroom changes that are connected to student assessment information. Secondary schools in TLDSB are currently participating in a new program that offers a fully-integrated approach to grade 9 applied math, where the focus on math is across the entire school year, rather than only in one semester."