Grade 3 reading test scores show significant drop in provincial assessments

Grade 3 students tested last spring have posted low English reading scores on P.E.I.'s annual student assessment results, released by the province Friday afternoon.

'What I'm hearing is maybe we need to do some assessments even earlier on'

Education Minister Brad Trivers says the poor reading results could be related to the way students are reading and interpreting the questions on the test. (Syda Productions/Shutterstock)

Results of P.E.I.'s annual student assessment have been released by the province, and while there were improvements in some areas, scores for Grade 3 reading show a significant drop.

The scores are based on tests completed by Grade 3, 6 and 9 students in May and June and the results were released by the province on Friday afternoon.

The test is also administered in January to Grade 11 students.

Grade 3 French immersion reading showed the most significant decline, with 39 per cent of students meeting expectations, down from 71 per cent last year. 

Scores for Grade 3 English reading also dropped to 74 per cent, compared to 81 per cent last year.

Education Minister Brad Trivers called these results "a bit of an anomaly."

He said the poor reading results could be related to the way students are reading and interpreting the questions on the test. 

The assessment results also showed Grade 3 math has seen a significant improvement up from 60 to 76 per cent of students meeting expectations. Conversely, Grade 6 math has slipped a bit at 73 per cent down from 77 per cent.

Grade 11 math 521B, pre-calculus, has been on a steady upward climb and the test found 87 per cent of students are meeting expectations. 

Trivers said the province is currently doing a review of provincial assessments as a whole. 

"We're going out and we're working with our partners out there to find out really what they're thinking and this includes the chambers of commerce, as well as the home and schools, as well as the Teachers' Federation just to make sure our assessments are as effective as they should be," he said. 

"We're going to improve our system as much as we possibly can so that our students have the skills that they need to be successful out in the open world." 

'Take a year off' from Grade 3 assessments

Trivers said the province has decided to take a year off from doing Grade 3 assessments to determine why scores were so low for those students.

"The Grade 3 English writing we're seeing the last four or five years is really right around the 50 per cent mark. And you know that's one of the reasons why we're going to take a year off and really evaluate what's going on with Grade 3," he said. 

"What I'm hearing is maybe we need to do some assessments even earlier on to make sure that students have a chance to succeed with those Grade 3 assessments."  

The assessment results are important, Trivers said, to understand students' learning needs so that improvements to the curriculum can be made.

He also said during that period, resources will be used to enhance "professional development" for teachers so they will be able to help their students succeed.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Sara Fraser


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