Inclusive classrooms need more resources to curb low test scores
Education officials agree many issues at play, but teachers need more support
The president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association says teachers in the province are working hard, but success on standardized tests has not yet materialized.
Last week, the province released a report saying Anglophone schools weren't meeting assessment targets.
Only 20 per cent of Grade 6 students were successful in math and only 26 per cent in science. Only 54 per cent were successful on the reading assessment.
"We are not surprised by the numbers. We are certainly disappointed by the numbers," said NBTA president Guy Arseneault on Information Morning Fredericton Tuesday.
- Brian Kenny says low student test scores are 'not that good'
- Grade 2 anglophone literacy results down 12% since 2010
- Gallant government reveals 10-year education plans
Arseneault agrees with Education Minister Brian Kenny that the reasons behind the low test scores are complex, but classroom composition - or inclusion - has been front and centre.
When asked for an example of classroom composition, Arseneault painted this picture of an existing high school English class with 28 students:
- Two students speak English as a second language
- 12 students have personal learning plans
- One student is on the autism spectrum
- Two have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and another has Attention Deficit Disorder
- 11 students require they be given oral exams
- 10 need scribes to write on their behalf
- Five of the students have attendance issues
- Two have mental health concerns
- and only two can read at grade level.
NBTA supports inclusive classrooms
"We thinks it's an asset," he said.
But Arseneault also said there's a cost and it is "not fair to put children in a classroom without the proper resources."
He said there should be a policy review done by the Department of Education, which wouldn't cost taxpayers anything, and might identify more effective uses for current resources.
"Free them up so they can teach," said Arseneault. "And give them good supports."
Many issues may have negatively affected scores
"When all four of the Anglophone districts drop by about the same amount, that begs the questions what would cause that?" said Gregg Ingersoll, during an interview with Information Morning Moncton.
He also addressed classroom composition.
He said teachers are now attending a two-day course offered by the Canadian Mental Health Association to better understand today's behavioural concerns.