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EQAO results show math struggles in Belleville

By Dan Cannataro

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) results were released last Wednesday and struggles in mathematics were definitely noticeable in Belleville.

EQAO indicated a provincial decrease in Grade six.  This included a number of elementary schools in the Belleville area said, Kerry Donnell, communications officer of Hastings and Prince Edward District school board.

“The Grade Six level was a bit of a concern but it was a decrease provincially you have to remember.”

An average achievement range has been shown in the past in math, especially at the elementary level.

“I don’t think its worrisome, many schools in Belleville in Grade 9 applied math had a 2% growth rate.”

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has shown that math scores in applied math has improved in the last two years by four percentage points each year.

Nonetheless only 34% of Grade 9 students leave with at least a B grade.

A Grade 9 student from Centennial Secondary School, Holly Branigan said, “I found the practice test our teacher had us do was really helpful and got us prepared for the real deal EQAO test.”

Students have the opportunity to join or attend many math help programs if they need to acquire extra help.

“I wouldn’t say math is my best subject but it’s not my worst, so I just have just never really had interest going to an after-school math program,” said Branigan

“There are many math help and after school programs offered around numerous elementary schools and high schools in the community,” said Donnell.

She added, “Even though the individual makes the decision if they want to attend the extra help program, the curriculum also takes a look every year to see where the student is at,” Many teachers have their own teaching methods, still many students learn in different ways.

“Teachers use a method referred to an individual perspective on students, some learn from watching, doing or even listening,” said Donnell.

In Belleville there was a mixed reaction at the Grade 3 levels with the results hovering below average.

“Students have to concentrate on their school work and not get side tracked, at some ages it’s hard but it can be done.”

School staff, including the principal, looks at results and try to make the best decision to help out the students in the long run.

“Schools for a number of years just likes to focus more on the literacy rather than math,” said Donnell.

“People are always quick to point out the negatives but what the positives, such as literacy increasing once again this year,” Donnell explained.

There was a 1-3% upgrade from last year as the kids are meeting the provincial average.

“We are committed to excellence but this is a hard idea to grasp because the thing about math is it’s either a right or wrong answer there’s no in-betweens,” Donnell said.

“However if you mess up a little step there’s a good chance you killed the entire equation,” said Donnell.