Grade 6 students miss targets in science, math and reading

New Brunswick Grade 6 students continued to struggle on standardized math, science and reading tests in 2017, according to results released Friday.

Reading, math and science test results suggest students in Grade 6 are struggling, but province sees good news

Standardized test results for Grade 6 anglophone students still fell far below provincial targets in math, science and reading last year. (CBC)

New Brunswick Grade 6 students continued to struggle on standardized math, science and reading tests in 2017, according to results released Friday. 

But there was enough of an improvement over dismal 2016 results the Gallant government is calling the scores good news.

"Your government is pleased to see improvements in literacy, math and science at the elementary and middle school level in the anglophone sector," Education Minister Brian Kenny said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Results showed just 31.7 per cent of 4,956 Grade 6 anglophone students tested at an appropriate or above level in 2017 on the scientific literacy assessment even though targets are that 90 per cent should be at that level.  

Similarly, just 38.4 percent achieved an appropriate or better score on the math assessment.

Still, those results are better than in 2016, when just 20 percent of students scored appropriate or better scores on math tests, and 26 per cent on science.

Kenny called that an important step forward.

"In the 2015-16 results there were concerns over the results in Grade 6 math, but due to the hard work of our teachers, historic investments in the education system and the 10-year education plans, the amount of students who experienced success has nearly doubled in 2016-17."

2nd-language scores not budging 

Not improving in the assessments were second-language speaking scores among graduating Grade 12 students.

The province has a goal that 90 percent of students who enrol in early French immersion should have an "advanced" ability to communicate in the language by the time they leave high school but in 2017 only 40.2 per cent met that standard.   

Expectations for speaking French are lower for Grade 12 students who took late immersion and lower still for those who took post-intensive French but they too struggled to meet targets.    

In the case of post-intensive French students, the target is for 90 per cent to achieve intermediate proficiency but in 2017 only 28.1 per cent tested at that level. That was a 4.7 percentage point decline from student results in 2016.

"We realize that there is still work to be done to ensure that all of our students are successful," said the statement released by Kenny.

"We feel we are on the right track and will continue to support our teachers and students. Results are moving in the right direction and the efforts in place will continue to have a positive impact on student learning."

No Grade 4, Grade 10 results yet 

Unclear on Friday was what happened to assessments that were to be conducted on Grade 4 and Grade 10 students in 2017.  

According to a timetable published last year by the Department of Education, children in Grade 4 were supposed to take math, science and reading tests last May but no results have been made public and the department could not immediately say where they were.

There were also Grade 10 math, science and french language proficiency tests on the schedule in 2017, for which no results have been released.

Corrections

  • The headline over an earlier version of this story said incorrectly that 68 per cent of anglophone students in Grade 6 read below the appropriate level, according to standardized tests. In fact, it was in scientific literacy that 68 per cent of students were below the appropriate level.
    Jan 19, 2018 8:01 PM AT