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Student scores not adding up

The province will implement a new math curriculum in hopes of correcting a downward trend in elementary math scores.

The province will implement a new math curriculum in hopes of correcting a downward trend in elementary math scores.

The Department of Education released results from the province’s first Elementary Mathematical Literacy assessment yesterday.

Conducted over a four-year period, the assessment tested 9,000 students who were in Grade 3 in 2006, and again in Grade 6 in 2009.

Only 63 per cent of English-language students met expectations — down four per cent since their Grade 3 test. French-language students faired better, with 77 per cent of students meeting expectations — up eight per cent over the same period.

A new curriculum for elementary students, to be rolled out in 2011, aims to address the deficiencies.

“What we want to do is have a curriculum … that instead of covering multiple topics, drills down and focuses more deeply on certain topics,” said Vince Warner, director of assessment services with the province. “A little narrower, a little deeper.”

A new curriculum for Grade 7 and 8 students will also be implemented in 2012.

Last month, the province revealed only 45 per cent of Grade 12 students passed the provincial math exam, down from 51 per cent from the previous year.

Marilyn More, the province’s Minister of Education, couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday. In a release regarding the elementary math scores, she said more needs to be done so all students “grasp the essential math concepts needed to succeed in their education and beyond.”

 
 
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