TORONTO – Elementary school teachers may need more professional development, after test results show that their students are struggling with math skills, Ontario’s education minister said Wednesday.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office said almost one in five Grade 6 students do not meet the provincial math standard, even after meeting the standard in Grade 3.
“There is a pretty steady decline in the percentage of kids reaching the standard and that’s obviously an area we have to look at. We’re going to have to figure out what’s going on in math,” said Annie Kidder, the Executive Director of People for Education.
These standardized tests “give us one piece of the picture of how were doing in education and I think that’s the first important thing to remember is that yes, this tells us something about reading, writing and math — but it’s really important to remember that education is about much more than that,” Kidder explained.
Meanwhile provincial tests show literacy skills are improving for students.
“If we compare Ontario students to students in the rest of the country or in the rest of the world they score very high in reading, writing and math.”
Liz Sandals from the Education Quality and Accountability Office said many elementary teachers come from an arts background and aren’t as comfortable teaching math as they are teaching reading or writing.
Lagging math skills in elementary schools is a trend that has been ongoing over the past five years.
Math tests in Grades 3, 6 and 9 and literacy tests in Grades 3, 6 and 10 are used to determine how students are performing as they move through school.