September 18, 2013
The Results Are In:
Literacy Rates on the Rise
The District School Board of Niagara continues to make strong improvements in literacy. EQAO data released by the province shows Grade 3 and Grade 6 results at the DSBN increased in both reading and writing. In fact, Board success rates surpass the provincial average in Grade 3 reading and writing, as well as Grade 6 reading.
The EQAO assessment provides a snapshot of students’ skills in reading, writing and mathematics according to the Ontario Curriculum Standards. To be successful on the test, students must meet the provincial standard, which is measured as Level 3 on a four-point scale. The Ministry of Education identifies the provincial standard as equivalent to a B grade.
“The EQAO provides a useful indicator of students’ progress; however, it is important to remember that the EQAO represents a single test written on a single day. There are many factors that can influence performance,” said John Dickson, Superintendent of School Support Services.
“With that being said, we are very pleased with the progress students are making,” added Dickson. “It is additional evidence that our Board-wide focus on literacy is making a real difference for students.”
While DSBN students outperformed the province in literacy, math results largely mirrored the provincial trend. Board results in Grade 3 math remained steady at 69%, while results declined 3% in Grade 6 math to 51%.
“Math is an area of concern, as success rates have declined across Ontario,” noted Dickson. “This is where the EQAO is most helpful to us; by using the provincial assessment alongside other forms of evaluation the Board can more effectively target the areas of the curriculum where students are experiencing difficulty and direct additional supports to improve student success.”
The DSBN has made improving student learning in math a priority. In their most recent budget, Trustees approved $100,000 to implement Dreambox software in all elementary schools. “Dreambox complements classroom instruction by helping students improve their comprehension of mathematical concepts. It engages them in a game-type setting that adapts to their unique learning needs,” said Dickson
Additionally, the DSBN is expanding the highly successful math Homework Help program to include all students from Grades 7-12. Homework Help allows students to get help with their assignments after school hours. Students can get support from Ontario certified teachers and can also access lesson archives ensuring that assistance is available no matter what time they log on.
Supporting staff in their professional development is also a key element in advancing student learning. The District School Board of Niagara will create opportunities for primary and junior teachers interested in upgrading their math qualifications to access Additional Qualification courses.
“While the results of the EQAO give us important information about overall trends, it is important to recognize that all students are individuals with their own strengths and needs,” said Warren Hoshizaki, DSBN Director of Education. “We are very proud of our dedicated teachers who work diligently to meet the needs of each individual child to help them become successful in school.”
For more information about the EQAO, please visit www.eqao.com.