New Brunswick

Brian Kenny says low student test scores are 'not that good'

Education Minister Brian Kenny said Monday morning that he knows the most recent assessment results for anglophone students in New Brunswick are, "not that good."

Brian Kenny says parents need to be more involved and classroom composition must be addressed

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny said Monday there is nowhere to go but up when it comes to improving the way education is delivered in New Brunswick. (CBC)

Education Minister Brian Kenny said Monday morning that he knows the most recent assessment results for anglophone students in New Brunswick are, "not that good."

Provincial assessment results for 2015-16 show students are failing to achieve targets set by the province in reading, writing, math and science. 

For grade 2 students the achievement levels in reading show a downward trend since 2010. 

In the Anglophone East School District, only 68.4 per cent of students achieved appropriate or strong levels, which was the lowest in the province.

According to assessment results released by the Department of Education, in anglophone schools:

  • 20 per cent of Grade 6 students were successful on the math assessment
  • 26 per cent of Grade 6 students were successful on the science assessment
  • 54 per cent of Grade 6 students were successful on the reading assessment (target is 85 per cent)
  • 74 per cent of Grade 2 students were successful on the reading assessment (target is 90 per cent)
  • 80 per cent of Grade 9 students were successful on the reading assessment (target is 85 per cent)

"There's definitely room for improvement," Kenny said in an interview on Information Morning Fredericton.

"We know we have to have some improvement and for New Brunswick to be competitive with the rest of the world we have to have some high standards."

Provincial assessment results show students aren't reaching most targets in reading, writing and math. Terry Seguin talks to the Education Minister about those results. 15:04

Kenny explained part of the reason for the poor results is a change to the assessments which has made them more difficult.

"The assessments have been changed in the last two years and it's not uncommon to see these types of results starting out," he said.

"It shows where we are, it shows where we need to focus and we need to be able to improve on that and our [Education Plan] is going to be able to help get us there."

'We've got to change the way we're doing education'

Kenny said after touring the province and meeting with educators, parents and others involved in education he believes there are a number of issues behind the low assessment scores.

We have nowhere but to go up on this here and that's what our government is going to do.- Education Minister Brian Kenny

He said classroom composition is one of the biggest concerns he heard from teachers who need help addressing behavioural problems in the classroom.

"We have to band together as a society... it's not just about teachers in the classroom, it's about society in general," he said. 

"We have issues at home with our parents. I do believe that parents have to take a very important role on this too."

Kenny hopes parents and educators will work with the provincial government under its new 10-year education plan to come up with new ways to teach.

"We've got to change the way we're doing education here in New Brunswick," he said. "It's not going to an easy fix."

Guy Arseneault, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, said earlier this month that the NBTA has been telling the government for years that the needs in classrooms outweigh the resources given to schools.

"Teachers are working hard, but they can't do it all on their own. These assessments are a systems check and the results indicate that work needs to be done," Arseneault said in a statement.

Kenny said the new 10-year education plan gives schools the flexibility needed to find ways to meet their goals.

"We have nowhere but to go up on this here and that's what our government is going to do."

With files from Information Morning Fredericton