August 27, 2014. Literacy success rates are high in Ontario elementary schools; math achievement drops again in Grade 6 and shows steady improvement in the Grade 9 applied course.
Literacy success rates continue to improve in Ontario elementary schools with each passing year. Grade 3 math achievement rates have remained the same though they have dropped again for students in Grade 6.
A review of Grade 6 student math responses shows students consistently do best demonstrating their math knowledge and least well applying that knowledge, particularly in problem solving.
In secondary schools, math success rates have been improving steadily for the past five years for students in both the academic and applied courses. However, more than half the students in the applied course are still not meeting the provincial standard.
Of the Grade 10 students who were eligible to write the Ontario Secondary Literacy Test (OSSLT) for the first time in 2014, 83% were successful, maintaining a high level of literacy achievement. Results show the success rate on the OSSLT for students in applied English courses has, however, been decreasing each year for the past five years.
Persistently low success rates for students in both the applied English and applied math courses suggest a review of those courses is warranted.
Results of Students in Elementary Schools
Reading and Writing:
- 70% of Grade 3 students and 79% of Grade 6 students are now meeting the provincial reading standard, an increase of eight percentage points and seven percentage points, respectively, over the past five years.
- 78% of students in both Grade 3 and Grade 6 have met the expected level in writing. This represents an eight-percentage-point increase over the past five years for students in both grades.
- 67% of Grade 3 students met the standard in 2014 compared to 71% in 2010, indicating a four-percentage-point decrease.
- 54% of Grade 6 students met the standard in 2014 compared to 61% in 2010. This is a seven-percentage-point decrease from 2010.
Results of Students in Secondary Schools
Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics
- The math success rate has steadily been improving in both academic and applied courses.
- 85% of students enrolled in the academic math course met the provincial standard this year, a three-percentage-point increase over the past five years.
- 47% of students enrolled in the applied math course met the provincial standard this year, a seven-percentage-point increase over the past five years.
- The success rate of students in the applied math course has remained persistently low, with more than half (53%) of the enrolled students in this course not meeting the provincial standard.
- A significant number of students who did not meet the standard in the Grade 9 applied math course (90%) also had not met the provincial math standards when they were in Grade 6.
Grade 10—Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)
- 83% of participating students were successful on the OSSLT on their first try.
- In the applied English course, the OSSLT success rate of students has decreased by ten percentage points in the past five years, from 60% in 2010 to 50% in 2014.
- 75% of students in the applied English course who were unsuccessful on the OSSLT had also not met the Grade 6 provincial reading standard.
“Ontario’s elementary schools do a very good job developing student reading and writing skills. We’re still not seeing the same kind of achievement in math, and aggressive efforts to turn that around must continue at all levels of the education system.” — Brian Desbiens, Chair, EQAO
“Applied courses were introduced in secondary schools a number of years ago to offer programming for students with different strengths, interests, needs and learning styles. Student achievement in these courses continues to lag. It’s worth reviewing the intent of these courses and how they might better support student achievement.” – Bruce Rodrigues, CEO, EQAO
“To paint a quick picture, Grade 6 students know how to multiply (for example) but struggle to know when multiplication is needed to solve a problem. This has been a consistent pattern with our students. They perform best on questions asking them to demonstrate their math knowledge and least well when asked to apply that knowledge—particularly when problem solving.” — Bruce Rodrigues, CEO, EQAO
EQAO’s assessments measure student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to Ontario Curriculum expectations. The resulting data provide accountability and a gauge of quality in Ontario’s publicly funded education system. By providing this important evidence about learning, EQAO acts as a catalyst for increasing the success of Ontario students.
The objective and reliable results from EQAO’s assessments complement the information obtained from classroom and other assessments to provide students, parents, teachers and administrators with a clear and comprehensive picture of student achievement and a basis for targeted improvement planning at the individual, school, school board and provincial levels. EQAO helps build capacity for the appropriate use of data by providing resources that educators, parents, policy-makers and others in the education community can use to improve learning and teaching. EQAO distributes an individual report to each student who writes an assessment, and posts school, school board and provincial results on its Web site.