A years-long trend of slight declines in elementary school math achievement continued in the most recent school year, while literacy is improving, according to newly released standardized test results.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) said 61 per cent of Ontario Grade 3 students met provincial standards for math last year, receiving a score equivalent to 70 per cent or higher in its assessment, while just under half (49 per cent) of Grade 6 students met or exceeded that standard.
Those numbers represent a one-percentage-point drop over the previous school year for both grades, though the numbers have decreased each year that EQAO assessments were completed since 2013.
On the other hand, the same grade levels are showing improvements in their reading and writing skills, according to the test results.
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Three-quarters of Grade 3 students met the provincial standard for reading and 72 per cent for writing. Eighty-two per cent of Grade 6 students are reading at the prescribed level, while 80 per cent are writing at that level.
Math results for Grade 9 students were up a percentage point over last year, though performance among students in the applied stream remains low.
Under half — 45 per cent of those tested — met the provincial standard for math, compared with 84 per cent in the academic program in the 2017-2018 school year.
Achievement in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, an assessment of reading and writing skills to the Grade 9 level across all subjects, was also down in the most recent school year.
Grade 10 students in both academic and applied streams receive the same test. Nine of out 10 academic students met the provincial standard, while 39 per cent in the applied stream were able to achieve a score over 70.
The results come as the provincial government is set to start a wide-ranging public consultation process on education, including math and sex ed.
Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement that the EQAO results “prove once again that we must do better with respect to students’ math performance in Ontario.”
She described the province’s discovery math program as a “failed experimental curriculum,” saying that the Tory government would shift the focus towards more traditional learning techniques.