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Schools to focus on math and literacy where assessment numbers decline

Results of provincial assessments of student learning shows steady progress over time, but achievements in mathematics continued to decline.

“Student achievement in math continued to decline at both the Hastings Prince Edward District School Board schools and provincial levels,” said Cathy Portt, superintendent of education and curriculum services for the board (HPEDSB).

Portt noted that through the new provincial Renewed Mathematics Strategy, the Ministry of Education will be offering professional learning support and resources to help teachers focus on mathematics instruction.

“We’re very pleased to see steady progress over time. We know where we will be focusing our efforts this year, particularly in math and literacy,” said Portt.

The Education Quality and Assessment Office tests Grades 3 and 6 students each Spring in reading, writing and mathematics. Results indicate the percentage of students who are achieving Levels 3 or 4 – considered a provincial standard.

Portt notes that in primary and junior results HPEDSB students made gains of two or three percentage points in reading and writing. Looking at a 10-year continuum of results shows gains in reading and writing.

primary-resultsFor Grade 9 mathematics testing, results indicate an increasing trend over a 10-year period, with increases in both course types of one and two percentage points for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Grade 9 math assessment is administered at the end of each semester, in both Academic and Applied courses. Combined results are reported as the percentage of students achieving at the provincial standard.


On the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Tests, Portt says results of students taking Academic English have remained strong over time, while overall combined results have declined over time. Results for students taking Applied or Locally Developed English, she said, indicate ongoing needs in literacy.


“It is important to point out that HPEDSB deferral rates have decreased from 15 per cent in 2011 to three per cent in 2016, which more closely aligns with the province,” she said. “This means more students are being given the opportunity to write the test in their Grade 10 year. It is an intentional approach by HPEDSB to prepare students for graduation.”

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is administered once a year in the spring, in Academic, Applied and Locally Developed English courses. All Grade 10 students are eligible to write it. Successful completion of the OSSLT is a graduation requirement. The OSSLT is also the only assessment in which students who are eligible to write it can be deferred to a later time.

“Schools are currently reviewing individual student and school results, and will be making plans in response to student needs. Professional learning will be intentionally directed to support improved student success,” Portt said.

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