Test Results Show Mississauga Students Doing Increasingly Worse in Some Areas

Not every subject is easy or fun and while many students in Brampton and Mississauga are growing stronger in certain areas, one tough area of study is stumping more and more students as time goes on.

The Peel District School Board (PDSB) recently revealed the results of the recent EQAO and Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) tests. At the PDSB, most grade 3, 6 and 9 EQAO test scores and OSSLT scores "remain in line with provincial results, which show steady rises in writing and reading for grades 3 and 6."

In good news, EQAO scores for grade 6 students with special education needs have risen as much as 23 per cent, in some areas, over the last five years.

As for the bad news, it appears local students are struggling with math.

The PDSB said that, as with most other school boards in Ontario, math results have reduced from previous years.

The Ontario government has taken noticed and announced the need to launch a "multi-year initiative to modernize curriculum and assessment tools from kindergarten to grade 12."

In particular, the curriculum reform will focus on a review of provincial assessment and reporting practices, including math, where EQAO scores are falling or stagnating across the province.

“We’re pleased to see the tremendous growth of our EQAO results for our students with special education needs--a credit to our dedicated staff and hard-working students. But, we also know that there is more work to do in other areas," says Peter Joshua, Director of Education. "Specifically, through our EngageMath strategy, we will continue our focus on mathematics to help raise scores that have declined steadily over the last five years, both provincially and within the Peel board. We’ll also work closely with the Ontario government to engage in conversations about their plans for a math curriculum refresh, and to identify specific areas that can support our students in numeracy success on the EQAO assessment and beyond.”

But although the math news isn't exciting, it appears great strides have been made in other areas.

According to the result, grade 6 students with special education needs (excluding those identified as gifted) have made advances in reading, writing and math over the last five years, increasing scores by 21, 23 and 16 per cent, respectively.

Results for students with special education needs in grade 9 applied math have also increased by four per cent in one year while provincial scores have remained the same from 2015-16. Grade 3 reading scores have increased by three per cent, compared to the previous test taken in 2015-16. Grade 3 writing scores have decreased one per cent and math scores have increased two per cent, compared to the previous test taken in 2015-16.

Grade 6 reading scores have increased one per cent and writing scores have decreased one per cent, compared to the previous test taken in 2015-16. Grade 6 math scores are down one per cent, while provincial scores have remained the same from 2015-16.

The OSSLT is a one-day assessment that focuses on key skills in reading and writing. It is based on the reading and writing skills expected in the Ontario curriculum across all subject areas up to the end of grade 9. To be clear, OSSLT is not a standardized test--it is based on the Ontario curriculum. A student’s performance on the OSSLT is not compared to that of other students.

From the grade 10 students in the Peel board who took the OSSLT for the first time, 80 per cent of fully participating students were successful, compared to 81 per cent provincially. Fifty per cent of previously eligible Peel board students were successful.

From the 9,654 Peel board students who were eligible to write the OSSLT for the first time in March 2017, 9,262 (or 96 per cent) wrote the test. Seventy per cent of English Language Learners who wrote the test passed, compared to 68 per cent provincially. This year, 13 per cent of eligible students are identified as English language learners.

Ninety per cent of students in academic English courses who wrote the test were successful, compared to 37 per cent in applied English courses who were successful, and six per cent of students in locally developed English courses.

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