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Math scores continue to fall in provincial testing

Reading and writing skills are on the rise across the province for Grade 3 and Grade 6 students, but mathematics continues to be struggle, according to this weekโ€™s provincial assessment results from the Education Quality and Assessment Office.

EQAO chief executive officer Bruce Rodrigues said Grade 6 math has been declining for the past three years.

โ€œThe literacy, reading and writing is improving โ€“ good scores provincially around that,โ€ Rodrigues said. And for students that studied at the applied level of math in Grade 9 there has been an improvement in their scores. We would like to see that trending a little better.โ€

He said they always look at the numbers in terms of a five-year trend and theyโ€™ve seen real increases in reading and writing since 2010. However, math proficiency continues to decrease.

โ€œIn the primary division provincially, looking at Grade 3 the province was 70 per cent in reading, 78 per cent in writing, and 67 per cent in math. In Grade 6 the province was 79 per cent in reading, in writing it was 78 per cent and in mathematics it was 54 per cent.

Those numbers represent the percentage of students who are at or above the provincial standard.

When the EQAO looks at the scores they donโ€™t have a good explanation for what exactly is happening. They do know that students are doing well in number sense and numeration, but they struggle in measurement, geometry, probability and statistics.

But he said thereโ€™s no need for parents to panic about it. Itโ€™s just an area they need to pay some more attention to.

โ€œWeโ€™re able to disaggregate data for all of the boards in the province and also for the schools,โ€ Rodrigues said. โ€œWhat our hope is, is that the schools would take the data and support student success based on that data.โ€

The Waterloo Regional District School Board saw similar trends in the three areas, but with lower scores. Grade 3 students scored 63 per cent in reading, 69 per cent in writing, and 60 per cent in math. Writing and math both increased by one percentage point from last year, while reading increased by two.

Grade 6 students in Waterloo Regionโ€™s public schools were 77 per cent for reading, 74 per cent for writing, and 49 per cent for math. Mathematics declined by four percentage points from last year, but reading and writing both increased by two.

Those numbers show the students in the region who were able to achieve the provincial average or higher. Grade 6 math in the region hasnโ€™t been able to keep up with the provincial average in the past five years, falling from 59 per cent in 2010 to 49 per cent this year. Reading and writing have seen fairly regular inclines though.

โ€œThe Waterloo Region District School Board is pleased to see that reading and writing results for our Grade 3 and 6 students continue to increase,โ€ said Scott Miller, assistant to the superintendent of learning services at WRDSB. โ€œAs a system we have been experiencing gains in our reading and writing EQAO results over a five year period, and are proud that our efforts in these areas are making a difference.โ€

As for Woolwich Township, Grade 6 students at St. Jacobs Public School and Park Manor Public School certainly took the cake. St. Jacobs scored 100 for reading, 92 for writing, and 76 for math. Park Manor scored 93 for reading, 94 for writing, and 84 for math, well above the regional and provincial numbers.

Grade 3 students at St. Jacobs PS did exceptionally well, too, with 90 for reading, 97 for writing, and 93 for math.

Floradale Public Schoolโ€™s Grade 6 mathematics score, on the other hand, was below the provincial and regional average, at only 24 per cent of students receiving the provincial average or higher. They also only managed 67 per cent for writing, and 48 per cent for reading.

The Grade 3s were even worse for reading and writing at 47and 59, respectively. Their math score was higher than the Waterloo Region average though, at 65 per cent.

A full breakdown for each school can be found at www.eqao.com.

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