Saskatchewan looking at math curriculum overhaul

WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan's test scores in math are the lowest in the country and the government is looking at ways of overhauling the math curriculum.

Students in Saskatchewan are producing the lowest math scores in the country, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

That statistic, along with an increase in students using private tutors, has the provincial government looking for a solution.

READ MORE: Toronto District School Board reacts to declining EQAO math scores

“That’s a reality,” Bronwyn Eyre, Saskatchewan’s minister of education, said.

“That’s a bit of a wake up call for us.”

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In this session’s throne speech, the government vowed to research “common-sense methods that have been proven successful in the past and in other jurisdictions.”

“Where we’re going to start is just in those reinforcement and support models that have worked best in other provinces and possibly looking to bring some of those in for 2018 year,” Eyre said.

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The ministry says they’re looking at different models like the Jump-Math program in Manitoba and Mastery Math, a program commonly used internationally. Both are programs based on problem solving, take-home work books.

In the speech, the government said they’re responding to a number of concerns from parents who say they’re having trouble helping their child with homework because of the departure from traditional math lessons.

READ MORE: Ontario math test scores for elementary school students not improving

Parents Global News spoke with said they’re not so much concerned, but confused.

“Parents may have concerns with the instructional strategies that the teachers they’re interacting with are choosing,” Michelle Naidu, president of the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers Society, said.

According to Naidu, math teachers in the province are against the government’s approach and an overhaul to the curriculum, which has an emphasis on more alternative teaching methods.

“I think there might be a disconnect between the methods used to achieve fluency for students,” Naidu said.

“Versus being able to memorize, say an algorithm or one way of doing things.”

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READ MORE: Montreal learning centre focuses on teaching Singapore math to young students

Instead, the society wants to see more support for teachers in an quickly evolving classroom environment.

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“If we think that we would like to see changes in mathematics instruction, then we need to provide support for teachers so that they are able to make those changes.” Naidu said.

There’s no word yet on when an overhaul of the math curriculum will be complete.

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