By Riley Maracle
The numbers are up, but both local school boards are still coming in below the provincial average in EQAO testing.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) results have come in from last year’s testing for the Algonquin and Lakeshore District School Board (ALDSB) and for the Hastings and Prince Edwards District School Board (HPEDSB).
In the ALDSB, the averages for the primary students (Grade 3) have improved reading and writing but have dropped in math. For the reading portion, the board average is seven points below the provincial average. For the writing section, the board average is four points below the provincial average, and for math, the board average is 60 compared to the provincial average of 67.
The average for the junior students (Grade 6) have dropped for math and for writing, but has stayed the same for reading. For the writing portion the average for the board is three points below the provincial. In math the board average is 49 while the provincial average is 57, which is the lowest is has been in 10 years. The reading average for the board is two points below the average.
In the Grade 9 mathematics, categories the numbers are above provincial average.
Eighty-eight per cent of students in the academic field for math received grade levels of three or four (equivalent of “A” grades and “B” grades) compared to the provincial average of 84 per cent. Fifty-six per cent of students in the applied category received levels three or four compared to the provincial average of 44 per cent.
Karen Shannon, superintendent of school effectiveness for ALDSB, said she is happy with the numbers for the Grade 9 students.
“ What we’re pleased to see for the past six years and beyond that students in the board have been surpassing their peers provincially on both the academic and applied assessments,” said Shannon.
She added that there is still work to be done for the Grade 9 students.
“It’s also important to close the learning gaps for kids who are still struggling,” said Shannon, “and too keep momentum moving forward.”
Shannon added that it appears improvement is being seen.
“What we have found is as you look at this data, what you will see and what we are seeing is students over time working with us in the Catholic school system, they are closing these gaps,” said Shannon. This “is evident in showing what these kids are doing as the move into high school and all the rest of it.”
The numbers for HPEDSB are in the same area as ALDSB. For the primary students, the reading results are 11 points below the provincial average. Writing is 62 per cent compared to the provincial average of 77. In math, the board averages 12 points below the provincial average.
For the junior students, the numbers are the same for Grade 3. The average in reading is 69 compared to the provincial average of 77. The writing average is 15 points below the provincial average, and the board average is 14 points below the province.
The Grade 9 numbers are similar to the numbers for ALDSB. Eight-two per cent of Grade 9 academic students received a level three or four, compared to the provincial average of 84. Fifty-one per cent of the Grade 9 applied students received a level three or four compared to the provincial average of 41.
Cathy Portt, superintendent of education for HPEDSB, said she feels that although most numbers are below, they are keeping up with the province.
“If you look at that trend, over time it’s fairly even with growth over time,” said Portt.
She said EQAO is only one of the things they look at.
“I think one of the things that’s important is to remember EQAO is one assessment that we look at to see how our students are doing and to adjust our instructional methods. It’s an important one, for sure, but teachers are looking at their assessments all the time throughout the year,” said Portt.