Half of provincial students fail to meet math standards, Sudbury area school board pushes for more direct approach
It's another poor showing for grade six students across Ontario in province wide testing.
The latest results of the province's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) tests show only half of those students tested met the provincial standard in math. It's the same figure as last year.
Ontario's Education Minister, Mitzie Hunter said more time will be needed to see the results of the province's three year $60-million math strategy.
She's calling for patience before the impact of the math strategy becomes clear.
According to the Rainbow District School Board, it believes classrooms have been dabbling too much in a creative space versus a direct approach.
"That means making sure they know their basic timetables, they know their basic math facts, subtraction facts," said Norm Blaseg, Rainbow District School Board director of education.
"Whatever it takes in order to make sure that they can move beyond those pieces and those conditions to move to the problem solving piece. That's really pivotal in terms of trying to find success,
Suzanne Thibeault feels the struggle first hand, as a parent of three.
"I was never great at math, so when my kids come home and they have math homework, I'm of very little help and I have to rely on websites and other parents and I think there's a lot of pressure for kids to be math savvy," Thibeault explained.
"I do think the new way of teaching can also contribute to it. I think you've got older school parents taught in a specific way and now they've introduced a new curriculum, so even for the kids to even try and get help at night from parents," added Jennifer McCauley, a concerned parent.
"We were not taught in this new way of thinking."
The rainbow board said another key element to the equation is reshaping the attitude students have towards math.
"You do that by playing games with them," said Blaseg.
"When you go to the grocery store, making sure they can do some rounding, trying to do the addition and subtraction, but also in the old days we used to do math facts and play games with math facts at home. Do that at home with your children five or 10 minutes a night"
With the school year fast approaching, the board is now going to review the data and find new strategic ways to support teachers, schools and students with the ultimate goal of improving math scores going forward.