News / Toronto

Math scores drop across GTA school boards

Just half of Grade 6 students are meeting provincial standards in math in latest round of Ontario-wide testing.

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Math scores in boards across Greater Toronto are on the decline, mirroring a worrying provincial trend that has prompted the Ontario government to bring in a new strategy to help boost elementary students’ achievement.

Reading and writing results have generally stabilized or increased in Toronto and the 905, according to individual board results released Wednesday.

But math results — particularly for Grade 6 students — have dropped. In York Region’s public board, typically a high performer, some 68 per cent reached or exceeded the provincial standard.

In other boards, like the Halton District School Board, Grade 6 math results showed just 56 per cent at or above the standard, a five-percentage point drop from two years prior, the board noted.

Some 55 per cent of Grade 6 students in the Toronto District School Board met or exceeded the standard, a four percentage point drop from 2013-14. (Students did not write the tests in 2014-15 because of a work-to-rule campaign by teachers.)

Earlier this year, the government announced a $60 million renewed math strategy to address the math problem, provide more resources and better training for teachers. Student anxiety and attitudes toward math have also been noted as an issue.

Elementary teachers are also now required to provide 60 minutes of math a day, though many were already doing so before the province mandated it.

Province-wide results were released at the end of August, which showed half of Ontario’s Grade 6 students failed to meet math expectations, down from 58 per cent in 2012.

At the time, the Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office said this was part of a trend over the past five years.

Sienna Kanji, 12, who was in Grade 6 last year at Courcelette Public School in Scarborough, told Torstar News Service that “a lot of people in my class were really stressed about it . . . probably because you have this whole booklet of work to do with this time limit.”

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