Half of Grade 6 students failed to meet province's math standard for 2nd year

The province's EQAO report card gives student performance in mathematics a grade of F.

Number of Grade 3 and Grade 9 applied math students to meet standard also declined by 1 per cent

50 per cent of Grade 6 students in Ontario fail EQAO math tests, provincial report shows. (iStock)

Only 50 per cent of Grade 6 students met the standard for mathematics for the second straight year, the province's EQAO report card shows. The number of Grade 3 students and Grade 9 applied math students that met the standard both declined by 1 per cent compared to last year, the report says.

"This is of course concerning to all of those who work towards student achievement and student success," said Laurie French, president of Ontario Public School Board Association. 

"At the same time I have great confidence in the work that's underway on our boards, in particular the implementation of the math strategy that was put in place last year."

The province put a $60 million plan in place to improve mathematics performance across Ontario last year. 

The strategy included "improved access to online math resources such as Homework Help or SOS Devoir, dedicated math leads in every elementary school, professional learning for educators and school leaders, and providing students with better supports outside of the school day such as tutoring and summer 'reach-ahead' opportunities," Education Minister Mitzie Hunter said in a statement last year. 

Norah Marsh, CEO of the Education Quality and Accountability Office in Ontario, told CBC Toronto that it's too early to measure the impact of that plan.

"Sometimes it does take time for implementation to occur," said Marsh. 

"It's a bit early perhaps to suggest one way or another with the renewed math strategy. We will be looking at it over time."

French noted the EQAO report card saw a "stabilization" in the results compared to previous years, and says the math strategy is responsible. 

"The stabilization is a step in the right direction towards improving for next year," she said. 

"We need to give it time to start to head in other directions."   

To build on this, Mary Reid, an assistant professor of math at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, says there needs to be a better balance between the traditional method of memorization and the newer teaching methods, which include more problem solving. 

"I would like to see calculators, for example, not introduced in Grade 1, but maybe hold off until Grade 3 or Grade 4," she explained.