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Ontario elementary students' math scores declining: EQAO

Report comes day after province says new teachers must score 70% on math test

Posted: August 28, 2019
Last Updated: August 28, 2019

Math scores on standardized tests for Ontario elementary students are declining, according to a report by the Education Quality and Accountability Office. (sebra/Shutterstock)

The number of elementary students in Ontario who are meeting the provincial standard in math has steadily declined over the past decade.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office, which administers the standardized tests, said research has shown that for students in those grades, their basic math skills are stronger than their ability to apply those skills to a problem.

This comes a day after a memo was released by the Ontario government stating new teachers will have to pass a math test by scoring at least 70 per cent.

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Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government is developing a new "back to basics" math program to be implemented in September 2020 and blamed declining math scores on the former Liberal government's curriculum, which focuses on problem-solving that grounds math in its application.

"There is absolute causation," he said Wednesday. "Concurrent to the introduction of that approach we saw math numbers decline. So one would have to accept the premise that there's a relationship between the two. What else is the reason ostensibly for such a decline?"

Just 48% of Grade 6 students met standard

Fewer than half of Grade 6 students — 48 per cent — met the provincial math standard during the last school year, which is down from 61 per cent in 2009.

For Grade 3 students, 58 per cent met the standard. In the 2009-2010 school year, at least 70 per cent achieved the standard.

The EQAO also said that the Grade 9 results are relatively consistent, but there is a persistent gap between students in the applied and academic courses — 44 per cent and 84 per cent of them met the standard, respectively.

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Literacy results were also fairly consistent with the past several years, except for a decline in the number of Grade 3 students who met the provincial writing standard.

This past year, 69 per cent of Grade 3 students met that standard, down from a recent high of 74 per cent in 2015-2016.

The other literacy test results saw 74 per cent of Grade 3 students meet the provincial reading standard, 81 per cent of Grade 6 students meet the reading standard, and 82 per cent of Grade 6 students meet the writing standard.

But there is also a large gap between applied and academic courses, with 41 per cent of students in the Grade 10 applied course meeting the literacy standard, and 91 per cent of students in the academic course meeting it.

Test your knowledge

The following questions are examples from the mathematics section of the EQAO test for Grade 6 students.

Let us know how you do in the comments.

(Education Quality and Accountability Office)
(Education Quality and Accountability Office)
(Education Quality and Accountability Office)