In late August, the Education Quality and Accountability Office released results of its annual assessments of Ontario students’ abilities in reading, writing and mathematics (Grade 1 to 6) and Grade 9 math. The official word from EQAO, an arm’s length agency of the Government of Ontario:
The way the EQAO tests work is that they rate the students at four levels. Level 1 is quite basic, Level 2 is competent, Level 3 is good, Level 4 is excellent, in relation to whatever the curriculum expectations for the grades being assessed.
We’ve got 67% of kids who are at Level 3, but we’ve got another almost 30% who are at Level 2, so in fact, the number of kids who are at Level 1 in Ontario has fallen by 50% in the last five years. It’s gone from 10 or 11% to about five per cent. So if you were to take a kind of a competence level, we’re at 95%, not 67. That’s good. And if you look at the cases where there are international assessments using comparable assessment vehicles, then Canada and Ontario do very well. We’re always among the top five countries.
There’s been a substantial effort over the last five years in Ontario to improve educational outcomes. There’s been a whole literacy and numeracy strategy for elementary schools and a substantial amount of effort by the Ministry of Education and many school boards, including a lot of professional development to bring teachers up to speed on new approaches to teaching and learning. This is all showing in the results. It is reflected in secondary schools, too – the high school graduation rate has gone up from 68% to 77%.
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