Nova Scotia

Poor math scores for N.S. students: report

High school students in Nova Scotia are struggling with math, according to a report released by the province Tuesday.

High school students in Nova Scotia are struggling with math, according to a report released by the province Tuesday.

The annual province-wide assessment showed that only 45 per cent of students passed Grade 12 math in 2009, a six per cent decrease from 2008.

The province's education minister, Marilyn More, called the results troubling. More said the province is about to introduce new curricula for elementary and junior high schools.

Educators say this new approach could make a difference.

"The math is more difficult. It's a higher level of skill, more comprehensive, and I think that's a good thing. I think that this new course will help develop that even further," said Alexis Allen, president of the Nova Scotia Teacher's Union.

The report, which breaks results down by school and school board, showed that the Strait Regional School Board had the best average, with 57 per cent of their students passing math. It was only school board that showed an improvement over the previous year.

The worst results were seen in the Tri-County School Board, where only 29 per cent of students passed math.

Students in the province's largest school board, Halifax, slipped as well with 49 per cent passing math. That was a 7 per cent decrease from 2008.

Literacy rates for writing and reading have also been falling over the past five years. 

While 89 per cent of students passed their English exams in 2005, only 76 per cent passed in 2009.

A spokesperson for the education department said English exams have become more rigorous over the past few years, which could account for the drop. 

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