Low Edmonton Grade 6 math results = sour note for Alberta education minister

The marks are in and it turns out Edmonton students are flourishing in the sciences. But the city's Grade 6 math students appear to be getting worse,year after year, according to provincial achievement tests.

'While we are pleased to see students do so well in sciences, we are still concerned about the math results'

Alberta students are flourishing in the sciences but Grade 6 students appear to be getting worse, year after year, in math. (iStock)

Edmonton students are flourishing in the sciences but Grade 6 students appear to be getting increasingly low marks in math.

According to provincial achievement test (PAT) results released Friday, the percentage of Grade 6 students in Edmonton public schools who met the acceptable standard for math was 75.6 per cent in 2015-16.

That compares with 2013-14 when it was 77.4 per cent, and 2014-15 when it was 76.2 per cent. 

For the Edmonton Catholic system, the percentage of students meeting the acceptable standard for sixth grade math was 73.7 last year. It was 77.7 per cent in 2014-15 and 78.3 per cent in 2013-14. 

The provincial acceptable standard last year was 72.2 per cent. 

"While we are pleased to see students do so well in sciences, we are still concerned about the math results," Education Minister David Eggen said in a news release. "This is why we are taking many steps to improve achievement in math."

While we are pleased to see students do so well in sciences, we are still concerned about the math results.- David  Eggen

Eggen said the government is working with post-secondary institutions to improve training for new teachers.

Expectations are also being clarified around basic math skills, including adding a new section to the Grade 6 math provincial achievement test designed to ensure students can solve basic number calculations without using a calculator, Eggen said.

For the fifth year in a row, physics grades have improved and, compared to last year, Grade 6 and Grade 9 marks in English also improved.

Eggen said his ministry is undertaking a "six-year process to develop new curriculum."

"Mathematics and numeracy skills will be cornerstones of that important work, as we prepare students for successful careers in a diversified economy."